Celebrating student agency, privileging creative ways of thinking, and trading control for vulnerability in our school systems.

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For educators, this has undoubtedly been the most trying year of our careers. As we pack up our classrooms (physical and virtual), we look forward to a reset and a fresh start in August. Change is already afoot, for we know that we cannot simply revert to a pre-pandemic type of schooling given all that we have learned.

In many instances, we have watched as our students have led the way. When we struggled, students adapted. Tensions emerged within our systems.

This year revealed what many of us don’t like to admit: technology scares us.

The World has Changed, and Yet Our Systems Lag

Technology empowers students to create…

“The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of all human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.” — Libba Bray

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There has always been something indescribable about walking into a school library — I can’t help but think about the incredible young hearts and minds that have walked those same halls, and touched those same books. The ethos of a library is unlike the other spaces within school walls. Of course, this is inherently related to my privilege. As a white female, it has never been difficult for me to locate books that feature characters like me, who lead lives as I do.

This is the power that libraries hold.

When intentionally designed, libraries are spaces where students see themselves…

On asking the difficult questions, leading with empathy, and imagining how things might be otherwise.

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As signs of spring emerge and we enter our final trimester of the 2020–2021 school year, it’s natural to begin looking forward in anticipation of what the next year will bring. There have been many significant lessons along the way (I’ve written about these lessons here), but in our state of perpetual change and transition, we haven’t had the chance to pinpoint these lessons and codify our learning.

Perspectives on Teacher Professional Development

Typically, teacher training and ongoing professional development (both formal and informal) are how we grow teaching practice. Ideas around effective, job-embedded professional development for teachers are nothing new, and preeminent authors such…

Will we disregard this year of remote teaching and return to business as usual, or will we treat this school year as a year of intentional learning?

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It has been nearly a year since we closed our schools and began teaching and learning across screens. Our nation and schools have been through turmoil, to put it mildly. Now, numerous districts look to transition to a hybrid model, with some students attending school in smaller numbers and others remaining remote. Once again, our students, communities, and school systems are asked to rapidly shift to something that they have never done before as new uncertainties loom.

While we continue to acknowledge our discomfort amidst ongoing chaos, perhaps we also have a responsibility to consciously learn from this past year…

“There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested.” — Sonia Sotomayor

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Last week, I sat in on a second grade Zoom class and observed students deftly muting, unmuting, and working independently while the teacher coached several on their writing after the class lesson. While so much of the setting looked vastly different than brick-and-mortar teaching (the teacher gently reminded one student that toys weren’t allowed on screen with them, for example), many practices remained the same. The relationships between teacher and student were mediated across a screen, but were present nonetheless.

I was reminded of this again as I watched third grade students use electronic forms to collect data, and quickly…

Alyson Rumberger, Ed.D

Learner, teacher, author, scholar and passionate advocate of education.

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