I have always felt it was critical to consider what we believe about learning and teaching. It's important to take some time to think about our beliefs, even write them down. Then, every decision we make rests on what we believe is right. Our beliefs clearly define who we are as teachers and learners. Most importantly, they guide our interactions with the children.
There was a time when I would have measured the success of a teacher by how closely his/her teaching practices, instructional routines and classroom environment were most like my own. But I have learned some things along the way.
First, I learned that there are many ways to teach effectively, wisely and well.
Second, there are many ways to set up a classroom for authentic learning and thoughtful conversations.
Third, how we teach and what we teach aren't nearly as important as our relationships with the children in our classrooms and our schools.
Fourth, our relationships with colleagues should never be defined by the differences in our styles but by the similarities in our beliefs about children and the experiences we share.
No longer does anyone stand alone in education. Our work is too complex and demanding to be doing it alone. No one has all the answers. I believe strongly in collective wisdom and a collective energy that gets things done.