Last summer my building did a book study today with Reading Reflex by McGuinness. It was a lot of fun to get together each week throughout the month of June and talk about school but also work to build a better understanding for what we each do in our classrooms. It turned out that we utilized a lot of the information that we gathered from the book study during our school year. I saw little pieces of the book throughout the different classrooms that I work in.
This year we decided to hold another book study as a building. We decided on "Creating Cultures of Thinking" by Ron Ritchhart.
I know that several bloggers read this book last year and posted about it. And I did start to read it last year but felt the impact of the book would be stronger if it was read as a school group. It is one thing for me to tell my teammates what I read, it is another thing for them to read it themselves, but it is awfully powerful for us to read it together and discuss its impact.
One of the chapters that I needed to read this week is titled "Time." Yes, Mr. Ritchhart, please help me with this!! There was a paragraph within this chapter that I keep coming back to in my head again and again. I wanted to share it with you..
He starts off the paragraph by listing some of the pressures that we have as teachers such as tests, curriculum, number of students, etc. Then he says,
"These pressures are real. Furthermore, it is certainly reasonable that an individual might not be happy with the way he or she is allocating time. The key takeaway here is that our choices, even if we aren't happy with them, are sending messages to our students about what is deemed important and worthwhile in the classroom. That allocation, even if it isn't what we want, is nonetheless shaping the culture of the classroom." (p.98)Later in the chapter he asks two questions that connect really well to this paragraph and they say a lot about our values and priorities: "How am I spending my energy now? How should I be spending my energy so that it is consistent with my deepest held values?" (p.108)
This speaks volumes to me not only in my teaching but in my home life. What messages am I sending to my students, my two girls, my husband, my friends, my family. I know there are moments when I allocate time for something that I do not value. It is time for me to take a look at this and make some changes.