This I believe . . .

This reporter’’s beliefs are in a state of flux. It would be easier to enumerate the items I do not believe in, than the other way around. And yet in talking to people, in listening to them, I have come to realize that I don’t have a monopoly on the world’s problems. Others have their share, often far bigger than mine. This has helped me to see my own in truer perspective: and in learning how others have faced their problems–this has given me fresh ideas about how to tackle mine.

A Pause to reflect

In 1951, Edward R.Murrow began a radio essay series called “This I believe”. In 2005, NPR revisited the original idea and the project continues with This I believe.org. Murrow ended the first broadcast with the quote above. In listening to what others believe and how they have faced life, we can find connections, build our empathy, and find common ground in this increasingly divisive world. As conflict heats up in our political systems and our public discourse, we need to listen, really listen, to each other more than ever.

In that spirit, I am sharing my educational philosophy with you. It is what I believe about my role as an educator and the work I hope to do in my role as an educational leader. Here is a version of my educationally themed, this I believe essay. I challenge you to write your own.

Educational Philosophy

Questions.  Wonderings.  The struggle to understand and make sense of the world around us. The curiosity and imagination to imagine the world in a different way. I am an educator because I believe in questions. I believe that this is how all learners, regardless of age, make sense of the world and take responsibility for our learning. The questions we ask direct our learning path and our journey through life. As educators, we have the tremendous responsibility to nurture and inspire that curiosity in our students, engage them in the inquiry process sparked by that curiosity, and empower them to act on what they have learned to impact the world around them.
 
I also believe that all students must have equal access to this remarkable learning journey. Educators must create learning environments that allow students to pursue the questions that are relevant to them with facilitators who can provide the necessary challenge or support they require. This level of personalized learning requires a high degree of collaboration among a team a teachers who share responsibility for the learning of the students they serve. It requires a commitment on the part of school leaders to create schedules that enable this degree of collaboration to occur among teachers. It requires structures to keep students and evidence of their learning at the center of these collaborative conversations to inform planning.  It requires systems to identify students who need extra support and challenge over time to ensure that interventions and accommodations are provided in a timely manner. It requires management to ensure that the experience of students and families who require additional services to access the curriculum can experience consistency across sections. It requires all professionals to be flexible enough in the way they understand their role to support the identified need of a child and not their label.
 
In short, it requires intention. Inclusion of students with unique learning needs does not happen by magic or accident. It happens because a school community embraces, not just accepts, a wide variety of learners and puts the supports, systems, structures, and challenges in place for them to be successful and for the teachers, parents, aides, administrators, and all stakeholders to be successful and committed to understanding and managing their needs.
 
I love working in International School because I believe in global citizenship and International Schools play such an important role in fostering connections across language and cultures. Yet, my roots are in public education and the belief that education is an absolute right of all. International schools, as a community, have been slow to embrace the joys and challenges of diversifying their student bodies to include students with a wider range of abilities and needs. This is changing. The questions that I am currently exploring center on what International Schools would look like if they included a broader range of abilities and how might I lead this change. It is my sincere wish to work with a school that seeks to live this question.
 

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