On Dec. 16, our family received the greatest gift possible. My eldest son and his wife became parents for a second time. I’m sure Jay Steven Saxton will be told time and time again that he was a holiday gift; and I dare say, no gift receipt was requested.
As the calendar year comes to a close, it is a good time to reflect on 2013. Generally, this exercise leads to planning and speculation for 2014. Each of these activities can be enlightening. As educators, we often analyze instruction and achievement. Did the students advance as our team had envisioned? Are they making progress and becoming critical thinkers? Have we challenged them enough to build a desire to succeed? Have we created an atmosphere where learning is the focal point of our setting?
Because the term educator is universal, certainly a strong case could be made and illustrated by observing the people with whom we associate on a daily basis.
It could follow that each of us is teaching at all times. Maybe your parents had little quips of wisdom for you. As I have mentioned in the past, my father often said, “You can learn something from everyone. From some you learn what to do and from others, what not to do.”
I’m not sure he thought he was “teaching me something,” but it is a point of view designed to encompass all situations and all people. The following is another example of “teaching something.” In mid-December, several of our employees gave presentations at a statewide technology conference. Over the two-day convention, ideas were shared with other interested school employees from across the entire state. Our school district was well-represented, and the content shared was extremely well-received.
Understanding that education is taking place every day and everywhere can begin shaping our activities in a positive manner. We often use the term, anytime-anywhere learning; how about anytime-anywhere-anyone-anything? It would seem to follow that reflective learning and thinking are concepts to promote at all times.
As we move into 2014, with about 60 percent of our instructional time ahead of us, it is important to leverage all technology to the fullest extent possible. Our students will lead each other and, in many cases, the teachers who are implementing cutting-edge technology tools to enrich educational experiences. The learning curves are many and a collaborative learning environment is preferred. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with our students during the balance of the 2013-14 school year.
Not too long ago, I had two grandchildren in less than a year. I made this comment, “I’m collecting them.” It seemed like a harmless statement at the time; however, now I have seven under six years of age. This collection makes for all types of learning settings and a real need for collaboration. Be safe, and please continue to work with our students and our staff to make the second step of the 2013-14 school year a success.
Ed Saxton is the superintendent for the St. Francis School District.