Your Curriculum is Made for This?

Whatever teaching may throw at you, whether it feels like success or like failure, expected or unexpected, teachers are made ready! We’re ready to write and implement curriculum. And most of all, we’re ready to tackle the daily grind of educating our youth.  Is your curriculum designed for your class and your teaching style? Are you incorporating your personality into each lesson? What might work in one class, won’t necessarily work in another class based on the student population. Values and motivations are different from class to class. The teacher-student relationships are different in each class. However, creating a curriculum that demonstrates the professionalism and relationships that teachers make with their students, is essential. Within your curriculum, you will create a unifying theme across each grade level and class, yet the way in which the theme is presented can be tweaked based on the students. So, how do we assess the readiness of our curriculum?

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Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Is your curriculum aligned with the standards and learning objectives? Are your learning tasks varied and authentic? Do the assessments measure learning appropriately? We are ready to turn around and reassess our curriculum when it isn’t working. We are made ready to learn, to celebrate, and to endure. We are born ready to handle all of the things that get thrown our way during every school year. Enjoy the beautiful things you are already made of!

Selfish, Selfless and Creating Curriculum

Does the act of being selfish, allow us to be selfless? I suppose it depends on how we define the word selfish: “devoted to or caring only for oneself, taking time to do things for oneself, disregarding others.” What about self-love? Does that allow us to be selfless? Self-love is directed to promoting one’s own welfare, so it would make sense that taking time for oneself only allows us to do the things that make us happy. For example, the oxygen mask analogy states, “it is important to put on your own oxygen mask first, in order to help others!” So, why is it that we are called ‘selfish’ when we maintain our own self-love, when we say ‘NO’ to things we just cannot commit to, or when we don’t do things that don’t serve our own personal goals? Being selfish and selfless are both necessary components to teaching and creating a sustainable curriculum. Creating sustainable curriculum creates selfishness because WE believe in the value of our work. We defend our work everyday, (to those who will listen and those who won’t). We want others to value the effort and time we put into creating our curriculum and helping students succeed. We are selfish because WE love teaching – teaching makes us happy. We remain selfish in the good sense of the word because WE want our students to succeed. While we incorporate our student’s learning styles into our curriculum, we remain selfish because WE are making connections with our students that allow them to learn better based on said learning style. WE have pride in our students when the succeed.

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Now enter selfless…the entire occupation and service of teaching is selfless. WE are often selfless in teaching because we make an impact on our students everyday. WE are selfless when we help that one student obtain a healthy breakfast in the morning. WE are selfless when we provide clothing to those who can’t afford it. WE are selfless when we spend time listening to our students problems and concerns.

All in all, everyday, we are presented with the decision to keep plugging along or do something for ourselves that rejuvenates us. It is imperative that we set some time aside for ourselves in order to juggle everything that is going on in our lives. We often carry too much stress and do not take time for ourselves to make our own world a better place. Create balance. Honor your own emotions. Make choices based on what truly makes you happy. Let go of unnecessary guilt. You are worth it!

Curriculum and Setting Intention

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Intention is an aim or plan in moving forward. Setting an intention as a teacher is a great tool to help improve your learning and have a deeper connection with your curriculum. How do you intend your day to go? How do you intend your lesson to go? When we set intentions within our classroom, it helps us stay on task to reach the goals we set for ourselves on a daily basis. What is your next step? What is the next skill you intend to learn? How will you determine your next intention? Whatever your intentions are, when you set your next intention, find energy and excitement around it. Set the intention and see it play out, get into the experience of the intention, and see where it leads. Pay attention to the intention. Pay attention to the process. Things will get in the way – fear, success, failure, positive experiences, etc. What experiences are you waking up to? What are you reaching for? What intentions are you setting for yourself?

The Process and Relentless Trust in your Curriculum

Have you ever had the fear that you are going to put your curriculum in front of your administrator and after all of your hard work it’s a complete failure? Have you ever designed a lesson for your students you think is the “bomb,” and it falls flat? Sometimes all we can do as teachers is trust the process of implementing and writing our curriculum. We have to trust the process of revision, trust the process of trying and failing, and trust the process of creating a curriculum that demonstrates learning and best practices. Throughout the curriculum writing process, the universe may not grant us the outcome we want, but it will most certainly grant us the outcome we need. Throughout the writing process we will become a better teacher, a more skilled leader, and a lifelong learner. We must be relentless when we are working through the curricular writing process in order to get to the outcome we want and need!

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We need to be relentless in trusting our own intuition and knowledge. We need to be relentless in providing the best curriculum for our students. We need to be relentless when we re-do, re-think, and re-write our curriculum. Here are a few steps to remember when writing your best curriculum: One, establish your foundation! Two, understand your state or national standards. Three, designate priority standards that will allow your students to perform mastery. Four, create assessments that clearly check for what your students should know, understand and do. Five, reflect on your curriculum and revise when needed. Finally, challenge your students to have high expectations in the learning process. Being relentless in the creation and re-creation of your curriculum takes dedication and commitment. Effort and time. Unlock your tenacity and be relentless in learning new methods, activities, and curricular information.

Positivity and Curriculum

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As Spring approaches, it is time regain the positivity we had at the beginning of the year within our classrooms and curriculum. Positive classrooms work together more effectively. They stay positive, connected, and committed through challenges. They maximize each other’s talent. They believe together and achieve more together. They feel safe, engaged, connected and supported.

“A school curriculum that incorporates positive well-being will ideally prevent depression, increase life satisfaction, encourage social responsibility, promote creativity, foster learning and even enhance academic achievement,”(Waters, 2014). So how do we incorporate more positivity sprinkled throughout our curriculum? First, we must work to develop a positive learning environment! This takes planning, reflecting, and adapting our strategies to fit the changing needs of our students.

Positive, high performing classrooms don’t happen by accident. They are built by teachers who reduce the negative and add a big dose of positive, more or less, they reframe. When you subtract negativity and add positivity into your classroom, the sky is the limit. Think about what you and your students can achieve together!? How can we all stay positive to help each other grow?

  1. Safety: Provide a safe learning environment where students feel welcomed and supported.
  2. Engagement: Develop a personalized learning concept where students can learn using their strengths.
  3. Connectedness: Connect with your students, get to know them, develop relationships, and support student success.
  4. Support: Students must feel connected to the classroom, school, and overall school climate.

In the long run, positivity in the classroom and curriculum will build academic environments where students achieve success and develop a healthy emotional well-being inside and outside the school walls.