My theory is that everyone has a few things that they ALWAYS buy at the grocery store…whether you need them or not. It isn’t on your list-you still buy it. You bought it last week-still feels like you might be out, so you buy more. For me, it is Mustard and Tuna. If I am not extremely careful, I will have 20 cans of tuna in my pantry, and several full bottles of mustard.
For my grandmother, it was foil-I am still using the rolls (and rolls) that she gave me over three years ago.
While I was making dinner the other night, I began to think about this phenomenon-and started to wonder if I hoard strategies like I hoard mustard.
I think I do. I am drawn to the same strategies over and over-in professional learning settings, when I work with students, when I work with teachers. I think we all have our “go-to’s”: the strategies that we know work, have practiced and perfected, used and abused.
As we grow our practice and improve our craft, it is necessary to keep our proverbial pantries stocked with staples-things we know our students will need, proven methods that build skills and help students succeed.
We also need to be careful, that we don’t only focus our own growth in areas that we are already “stocked up”, or with strategies that do not benefit our students.
Our district goal-setting process pushes us to set stretch goals. Goals should make us better educators and move our practice in ways that will impact our students. It is easier to set our sights on a goal that is within reach, requires more action but little learning, or is already within scope of our current abilities.
To grow we have to get out of our comfort zone.
We have to set goals that fill our pantries with the things we can use to feed our students, meet the needs of our campus, and support our teams. There is no need to stock up on tuna and mustard, especially if there is no one in your house that will eat it.
I’m still learning…new things…