Monday, November 3, 2014

Yay, Me!

I feel proud at work often.  Typically, the pride I feel is in my students - when they overcome a difficult problem, when they experience personal or academic success or when they are really kind to others.

Pride in myself is harder to come by.  On some days, I feel discouraged because the lesson didn't go well or too many students did poorly on an assessment. I call these "Duh, Me Days".  On other days, I just feel like I am doing my job - helping students learn, grow and ask questions.  Every now and again, I have a real Yay, Me kind of day.

My best ever Yay, Me day came at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.  That winter, we had our accreditation visit from the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools.  The entire faculty had been working very hard to gather the necessary documents and write the appropriate reports for months in advance of the visit.  A team of educators from other independent schools came for three days to visit classrooms, talk to students and parents, meet with committees and make sure we were doing what we should be.

The part of the story I am leaving out is this: I had been hired just two years before to start up the Middle School.  Historically, our school was K-6, but the decision was made in 2010 to add 7th & 8th grade.  I was hired, not to teach every class, but to work with other teachers to ensure that our program was effective and rigorous.

At the time of the accreditation visit, I did not know that the Middle School program was being evaluated separately from the Lower School.  However, as I found out in June, the Middle School was judged independently and - after only two years - was accredited.

I felt extreme pride.  First, in my team of amazing teachers.  We had built a solid program which was aligned with standards and met the needs of students.  But I also felt a great deal of pride in myself.  I had worked hard to make sure our program was researched based and rigorous, but also compatible with the culture of the Lower School.  I had spent long hours planning, thinking and promoting our program.  Mostly because I had fallen a little in love with it.  And I was thrilled that the accreditation team was in love with it, too!  Yay, me!

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