This summer I read the book Shift This by Joy Kirr. This book challenged me and changed my thinking. Innovation in our school system is so desperately needed and small shifts are a realistic way to innovate. After reading this book and a handful of others, I started to realize my part in this innovation process. I can be the change. After all, I see students everyday. What I do matters.
The book, Shift This, helped me see that change is slow and change happens in small shifts. Here are three small shifts I've made this year in my music classroom. Why? I got mad. I finally decided that I wasn't going to wait for professional development to come to me. I can research my own interests and push my own thinking whenever I want. I find it very satisfying to take charge of my own learning, set goals for myself and pursue my goals. I've grown as an educator and there's no going back.
1. I created a teacher mission statement.
Why? I got mad. I finally decided that I wasn't going to wait for professional development to come to me. I can research my own interests and push my own thinking whenever I want. I find it very satisfying to take charge of my own learning, set goals for myself and pursue my goals. I've grown as an educator and there's no going back.
2. I started a genius hour this year.
Why? I went to a Taste of Tech workshop this summer. I was thrilled to get the chance to meet the author of my new favorite book, Shift This by Joy Kirr. Joy spoke about genius hour and offered many resources. A co-worker and I had contemplated starting a genius hour with second graders. As a music teacher, I only see kids for an hour a week and although I see genius hour as an amazing initiative, I'm not sure it belongs in music class because of our limited time together. With that said, I wanted to try genius hour with my co-worker and her second grade class in the hopes that the experience would change me for the better.
Joy Kirr said in her presentation that she is a genius hour enthusiast. She also shared that while she has done genius hour for years, she didn't do genius hour in her classroom last year. She shared that her experience with genius hour taught her how to offer more choice in her classroom everyday. What she said stayed with me. I realized this is why I need to try genius hour. I want to find more ways to offer more choice in the music classroom so that some day the student choice and voice is there everyday.
3. I've joined more #edchats on twitter. I've found a tribe to follow and share with.
Why? I am a music teacher. I am the only general music teacher in the building. It can be isolating at times. George Couros says that isolation can often times be the enemy of innovation. It's easy to close the classroom door, get comfortable and stay put. However, that's not the way towards innovation. While I have many co-workers who push my thinking, I have found a huge resource of professionals online that will push my thinking as well and who are trying the same initiatives I am trying. My PLF (Professional Learning Family- I stole this from Tara Martin) has inspired, encouraged and pushed me to try new things.
What I do matters. Innovation starts with me. It's up to me to push myself and continue to make small shifts in the right direction.