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  • Writer's pictureKaren Caswell

Big Rocks for 2019

Updated: May 16, 2020

I started 2018 with two big rocks – Reading and Relationships. As the year progressed I added Engagement, and these three things underpinned all of my actions last year (you can read about why I chose those big rocks here and my reflections on these here). These are still important to me, and will continue to be the base of my 2019 big rocks, but I want to expand on them somewhat. The big rocks that are going to be my priority and drive everything I do this year are – Reading, Relationships and Student Voice. I’ll explain each one in a little more detail.

Reading: In 2018 my goal was to bring back the joy of reading and infuse a love of reading in my students. I was intentional about developing a class reading community centred around reading for pleasure. For 2019, my goal is to broaden this to foster a school reading community. I am going to build on the success I had with my class and the traction gained from sharing my success in this area. I’m passionate about creating an environment where a love of reading is cultivated and students are nurtured to become life-long readers.

Relationships: I believe this will be a focus for as long as I’m teaching – it’s just that important. Students need to know you genuinely care. They need authentic connections. They need a consistent, safe environment where they are encouraged to take risks, knowing that they have a secure place to land if they fall. They need to know someone is in their corner and will advocate for them. Teachers need to know our students before we can teach them – know about their dreams, interests, strengths, struggles, fears. We need to know them in order to reach them if we hope to teach them. I’m passionate about doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of students.

Student Voice: This is a new focus this year, that builds on relationships and engagement. I no longer simply want my students engaged in learning, I want the to take ownership of their learning. In order to do that, they need a voice. I believe students deserve to have a voice in their own education, and that at times, due to various reasons, this is lacking. This year I am going to be intentional about providing students with a voice. I am going to foster a class community built on mutual respect, trust and empathy. I am going to seek their opinions and ideas; collaborate with students to solve problems and manage conflict; and allow them to have a say in decisions that affect them. I am going to teach students the power of their voice and ensure they know how to use their voice appropriately. I’m passionate about raising kind, caring and active young people who know how to advocate for themselves, champion others and make a positive impact on the world.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions that will help me achieve these goals. I’d also love to know what your ‘big rocks’ are, so I can support you. Together we are stronger.


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