Monday, March 28, 2011

Teaching in Camelot

Most of you know I'm devoted to my school. We house over 640 students, and I have the privilege of teaching them all. The kids and the staff inspire me to not only be a better teacher, but a better person.

Over the years, people have asked how it is that I maintain such a positive attitude. In a time when the average life span of a teaching career is just three years, how is that I still have such passion for the profession after eleven? My answer is always the same.

It's easy when you teach in Camelot.

 My school is around 35% free and reduced lunch, but you'd never know it when you enter the building. The stereotype of low expectations for poor kids doesn't fly here. Everyone is expected to do their best, teachers and students alike. Our kiddo's are taught at an early age that knowledge is power, but it's also hard work. It doesn't matter where you come from, what matters is where your headed. High standards, thinking skills, value in the opinions of all, consistent rules, and proactive expectations not reactive consequences ... this is what makes our school so successful. There is a positive energy that flows through these halls. People feel it when they walk in. The children run into the building, happy to be here. Each classroom has intensive, meaningful instruction, and everyone is working toward the same goal ... to raise the next generation to be the best citizens they can be.  

Never let anyone fool you--your school is only as good as its principal. The teachers in your child's building will teach to the expectations set for them, they will inspire children in the way they are inspired. When they are treated with honor and respect, they pass that on to the children in their classroom. The principle is everything to the success of the school. And for the past ten years, I've undoubtedly had the best principal in the country. Hands down.  

Sadly, last Wednesday our principal sent out an email stating that Friday would be her last day. As head of the social committee, I scrambled to put together a little something for her so that she would not walk out the door without knowing how much she means to all of us. I'm normally comfortable in front of a crowd, and extemporaneous speaking isn't an issue, but on this day I couldn't say much of anything. And so we had a chocolate bar and coffee (two of her favorite food groups :-) and we took a moment to be together one last time.

It's my hope that as we move forward we will honor her by keeping high expectations and making sure that every child knows they matter. Can Camelot exist without King Arthur? I guess we'll see.