Currently a department co-chair and co-director with the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project, Brian Kelley has taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade for over twenty years.

Elevate the Emotional Quality

Elevate the Emotional Quality

Teachers would likely agree that the experience of teaching a class carries both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. This week, as a co-teacher of Teach Shift: Passion Driven Teaching for the Twenty-First Century, my growth has been impacted by the courses participants, the shared texts, and the guest educators who led Q&A sessions.

If I can draw a parallel to writing, I am finding both surface-level and deep revisions for my practice. I think the surface-level revisions are shared among the course participants: 

  • Be gracious to students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Share experiences with students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Encourage students, parents, and colleagues to grow with you.
  • Be considerate of the educational values of students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Grow every year alongside students, parents, and colleagues.

The deeper-level revisions are unique to who we are and the communities we teach in. For example, I am walking away (again as an instructor of the course) reflecting on several shifts in my practice. It is because of the conversations we had together that I have identified the most-needed shifts or (to take a page for co-teacher Tricia Ebarvia) the shifts I am in a place to recognize right now:

  • blending the reader's notebook with the writer's notebook model already in place.
  • using reading and writing alongside students to find and solve student-identified problems.
  • being better at showing students what reading and writing decisions look like for me.
  • I need to reach out more often to students, parents, and colleagues to share what is going well and to encourage growth in our relationships.

In the end, what is reinforced for me, from my experiences from our class this week, is that (more than standards, curriculum, or resources) relationships elevate the emotional quality of experiences the teacher and students share together

Five Minutes with Barbara Bush

Five Minutes with Barbara Bush

Teaching is Learning

Teaching is Learning