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ConnectEd Readers Reflect: "What I Learned This Year"

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

We asked, you responded. We have a lot to learn from you, and you from each other. Here are just some of the many responses we got to our May ConnectEd Reader Response question of the month

What you learned this year:

"I learned it only takes one student to create chaos in a classroom."

"I learned that the students, their parents, and my colleagues all value my 20 years of experience, even if I feel like my administration does not."

"I learned that things need to change to become better or they simply get old without hope of renewal. We all need to embrace change to nurture our ancient roots of what is right and true!"

"I learned more about trauma and how this affects students, staff and families. We have to walk in someone's else's shoes and not pass judgment on others because we haven’t lived their story. Showing compassion and kindness has so many benefits!"

"Even as our education world feels a little more normal after moving through the pandemic, there is still so much more work to be done and undone. Schools are spaces that can empower and can also oppress. I've learned that my purpose is to show up in a way that empowers and sheds light on systems that oppress. This can look like asking questions at a staff meeting or bearing witness to a student and family's experience that is different from my own. I've learned that as an educator, my work is never done and that there is always room for growth."

"The last few years have been a struggle for me in terms of getting students to do work, in terms of societal expectations, in terms of stagnancy in the educational system. This year, I focused on patience. I focused on climbing my mountains, one school day at a time."

"Strong relationships are not a luxury, but a necessity for healthy emotions, mind, and body. Not only that, but strong, healthy relationships are a powerful force for healing from past hurts."

"A student-centric approach to teaching, coupled with starting each day with a fresh perspective, has given me the opportunity to build strong relationships with many of my students, particularly some of the most marginalized. I consistently use their names and look them in the eye when I am talking to them. I acknowledge their absences and make sure they are alright when they return. I make sure they know I care deeply about their success in school.

"I've learned that students who genuinely feel seen, heard, and cared about will be more engaged and responsive to instruction. The results I've seen have proven that. The 2022-23 school year has been a growth year for me and it is ending strong!"

"As a long-term substitute, I have always struggled with insecurity about my ability to do a good job when teaching. This year, I have been doing more reading of professional development books/materials, and through this I've realized that I'm doing a better job than I thought I was."

"When a team of educators respects and works together anything is possible in supporting any kind of student."

Thank you to everyone who took the time to reflect on our May ConnectEd Reader Response question. We really love hearing from you! Look out for the next reader response question in ConnectEd, which will arrive in your inbox in mid-August.

Until then, make sure to make the most of this summer. Soak in the warm sunshine. Drink your coffee on the patio. Fill your senses with the sights and sounds of the prairies and woods and lakes around us. You are our MVPs. You make such a difference for kids in this state every day. You deserve joy and connection.