One of the common bonds which unite teachers is that as children themselves, they typically loved the idea of school. In fact, if you ask them, many teachers will tell you that when they were young, they would play “school” with their friends as they set out paper, pencils and composition books and placed their stuffed animals in chairs to represent a classroom full of students. Teachers often know pretty early in life that they love the idea of school and that at their core, they love to learn.
It is a thirst for knowledge and a desire for discovery that drives our teachers to learn all they can. For in their hearts, the best teachers are and will forever be students. So it is these “forever students” who harness their craft through enrolling in continuing education and graduate courses, attending conferences, taking part in seminars and workshops, observing other teachers, studying data and continuing to read throughout their professional lives. As teachers, they seek the answer to the essential question: how might I better understand my student so as to meet their needs as learners.
Last week, our “forever students” focused their intellectual interests and instructional goals toward training themselves to grow as gatekeepers of the minds, hearts and souls of our children. To this point, two Saturdays ago a number of our teachers attended a special event that was appropriately called “Harnessing the Power from Within”. This professional learning experience brought together nearly 200 educators from within our Catholic school system. The event was led by fellow archdiocesan teachers and administrators who provided their colleagues a hands-on encounter with topics ranging from integrating educational technology to sharing pedagogy to training on current instructional teaching tools.
The learning didn’t end there though. This past Monday while our students were off school for the day, our faculty members were sent out to three different schools around the Archdiocese of Baltimore to observe other teachers practice their craft. They also used this time at the visiting schools to meet and share best practices of teaching with their fellow AoB educators. Then later that afternoon, our teachers returned back to St. Agnes to receive training on a collaborative project based learning tool called Google Classroom and other G-Suite instructional resources.
As I think about my “forever student” colleagues and the love affair they have with the discovery of learning, I found myself reflecting upon a line from the 2007 movie, The Feast of Love. During the final scene, Morgan Freeman professed: “the unexpected is always upon us. And of all the gifts that are arrayed before me, this one thought at this moment in my life, is the most precious. And so, we begin again”. Each day my colleagues embrace the precious moment of life that is arrayed before them as they “begin again” to meet the developing needs of our student learners.
St. Agnes School – Forming students of virtue in heart, soul and mind.