Skip to content

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.

 

Advertisements
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Stephen Kennedy #

    Wonderful! Much like Jenifer Fox’s “Your Child’s Strengths,” this notion of starting with teachers becoming familiar with a child’s passions and strengths is such a positive way to begin the year. To set the tone from the start is so much more powerful than “turn to page one” or “here are our rules.” Your thoughtful learning has clearly transferred itself to your teachers’ care for their/your students. All of this creates such a reflective environment for dynamic learning. Nice!

    September 28, 2012
  2. I agree with you, Pam. “… 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.” The reciprocal nature of our relationships is vital to community building and development of trust. I wonder how often we remember to show our students that we are learners too.

    As an administrator, I want to make those same authentic connections with my teachers and colleagues.” I hope that all administrators take on the challenge of serving as the lead-learners in their community. We model what and how we want our community to grow and learn together.

    September 29, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: