edu180atl: pam pifer 9.27.12
There was a hint of fall in the air this week. The blazing, hot summer is fast becoming a distant memory, and we are all firmly rooted in the new school year. It’s hard to believe it’s only been three weeks, because as I walked through the school today, I was delighted to see engaged and eager students feeling completely at home in their new classrooms. These three weeks set the tone for the whole year.
Catherine Cook School teachers begin the year by asking their students for their hopes and dreams. I learned that some students want to get good at cursive; others want to be better friends. Some want to conquer fractions or get better at drawing. Each class talks about the kind of community they need in order for everyone to have a chance to achieve their hopes and dreams. These conversations take time, but establishing the ground rules right from the start gives everyone a stake in making the classroom a stimulating, inspiring place to learn where children feel safe taking risks.
What I learned (actually was reminded of) today was that teachers want to know, understand and sincerely care for each of their students. They are intentional about getting to know their students and letting their students get to know them. As an administrator, I want to make those same authentic connections with my teachers and colleagues. This community is at its best when we all feel stimulated, inspired and safe taking risks.
About the author: Pam Pifer, Ed. D., is the Head of the Lower School at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago. Her passion, aside from the Chicago Cubs, is the role of relationships in teaching and learning.