Summer is always such a great time of year. In education, summer signals a time for celebration. At this time of year we celebrate the end of another successful school year, the excitement for a change of pace, and the collective pride as a group of young adults graduate and start adventures of their own. Summertime in education is also frequently a time to say professional goodbyes to colleagues who are leaving our schools.
This summer Morgan County School District celebrates a wonderful group of staff members who have reached a pinnacle in their careers and decided to retire. At this time of celebration, and with this group of amazing educators, it is certainly appropriate to reflect on what great teaching is and what makes a great school.
Many of us have powerful memories of influential teachers who created experiences that touched our lives when we needed direction. Some teachers reached us through their constant model of caring and grace.
Others pushed us harder, expecting more than we thought possible. If we examine each of our personal experiences, we can always pinpoint a great teacher who found the way to reach our individuality. This specific talent, which so many MCSD teachers have, is what makes teachers so great.
Recently I asked the Morgan Elementary School Team Leaders and Department Chairs to reflect on the best thing that happened for their team this year. Their responses were varied and echoed the many great things that happened on our campus, but a general theme was the realization that increased professional collaboration was a key to better instruction.
Fourth grade teacher and Team Leader Gaylene Adams stated, “Teamwork is a concept we work hard to help students understand and practice because we know that the application is so important in so many aspects of life. Teamwork amongst teachers is of great benefit to students too.” After discussing the benefits of varied experience levels amongst her team this year she finished her reflection by noting, “Students have been the beneficiaries this past school year from the teamwork of a varied group of teachers whose goal has been the same.
What is the best way to help each student learn what they need to learn?” First grade teacher and Team Leader Jenny Fry added, “I think the best moment is that at the end of a school year we all continue to consider ourselves friends.” She reflects that by initiating Professional Learning Community structures to their collaboration they are, “more focused, on task, and heading in a positive direction!”
I couldn’t agree more. The strength of Morgan Elementary School, and what makes us a great school, is our spirit of collaboration and community. I would also suggest that this collaboration and strength of community is what makes teaching in Morgan County such a joy. May you have a safe and enjoyable summer vacation.