We all have a sweet spot. That passion that brings us back to school everyday. That area that when we are engaged in it we feel like a million bucks and that we could do this job for free. Max Lucado, in his book Cure for the Common Life, draws the golf reference of that amazing golf shot when you hit the ball in that sweet spot for club and ball and it just sails a mile and a half. It's a thing of beauty! I am not a huge golfer by any means, but I do understand this feeling and reference and it does keep me coming back when the opportunity presents itself. That moment is quite intoxicating!
You can already probably start to identify the connection here. It is important we know our sweets spots at school and especially in our instructional leadership. Know our sweets spots can answer that question of "What are some areas of teaching and learning you can lead in your school." As I reflected about my own sweet spots at school and areas I lead teaching and learning, I found myself thinking about these things: areas that I was good at, that I enjoyed most, was most passionate about and missed most from he classroom as well as things that people seek me out to more information! For me this list looks like this:
- Interactive read aloud/shared reading - The 1000 book set number always stuck with me, especially as it relates to students in poverty that do not receive the same background experiences as their more affluent peers. Quick run down, the research said that 1000 book was the number of books that kids need to be exposed to in order to have the vocabulary and schema to continue to be highly successful readers and learners. I teach this and preach this in word and deed on campuses I have worked at and encourage this across content areas!
- Writer's Workshop - honestly I haven't done a whole lot of this at my current campus (I have an Abydos trainer on my campus), but especially did at the middle school level. Kids need authentic writing experiences to grow a love of writing!
- Power of social media for professional learning - cliche I know, but I teach this and preach this often. Modeling is something I do daily in this area, but I jump on the opportunity when teachers and parents ask questions about resources! Versus classes or PD activities, I've found the former to be much more effective in growing the practice and spreading the good message of connectedness!
These are sweet spots! Just thinking and writing about them gets me a little excited! These are things, among others, that I love about my job. It is important that we know these. I have found in the times that I hit the doldrums of work, I'm down and/or in a funk, it is likely that I've become disconnected from those sweet spots. When we hit these times, it is important, no matter the season or how busy, that we keep connected to these. The sweet spot is energizing!
What are your "sweet spots" for teaching and learning?
Happy leading, teaching and learning!