My vision for education has evolved over the years through all my experiences as an educator. I have had the opportunity to work with many fabulous students, teachers, and leaders. I have seen many programs come and go. I have seen great successes and great failures. This has helped me create a vision for a successful school.
I believe school is a place where you teach the “whole” child. It’s more than just academic learning. It’s about helping a child grow physically, socially, and emotionally. And then, it’s about preparing them to be lifelong learners in an ever-changing world.
I have learned first hand that you have to meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of a child so that they can feel safe and cared for. If they are hungry, feed them. If they are cold, get them more clothes. If they are tired, let them sleep. If they are sad or scared, give them the opportunity to share their feelings and unburden. I have always believed that we need to do what it takes at school to make a child want to be there and want to learn. Learning is the last thing on a child’s mind if these other important aspects of their lives are not balanced. When the “whole” child is in a healthy place, learning can and will become a priority for them. Every child wants to learn, we just need to help get rid of the things that block it.
I believe that school is a place where every child can learn. This looks different for different students. You will need to find each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and how they learn best. You will need to create programs that reach where each individual is presently at and pushes them to grow to new heights. You may need to find supports and different ways to help guide their learning. This is a huge task for a teacher so a school needs to rally around them and provide all the resources and supports that help make this job manageable.
I also believe that school is a community. It is a place where strong connections are formed. Relationships are built with mutual respect and trust. This community starts with building strong staff relationships and carries over to strong staff-student relationships. School is a place where you know people care about you and your learning. It is a place where people are happy to see you and you are very happy to be there. It is more than just a place to learn, it’s a place where you know you belong.
I will end this with our school’s mission statement that we created a few years ago, but I still believe it sums things up in a simple yet effective way:
“Together we enter, together we leave, helping each other grow and succeed.”