Are you finding joy in your adapted fall school rituals?
For example, when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need to focus on an independent project (e.g., writing a report), I have a specific table at the local Panera where I go to give myself permission to focus on one thing, and one thing only. The cell reception is terrible, and the WiFi is great. Fueled by mac n’ cheese, I block out those pesky electronic distractions and get my project done. It’s sublime.
When I want to shift feelings of stress to joy and satisfaction, I focus on one thing at a time (and hopefully the most important thing) and create the conditions to do just that.
For educators and families, collaborating in a new normal has brought a lot of anxiety and pressure. What would focusing on one thing at a time look like for educators and families? And what should that “one thing” be?
This summer, my co-founder, Dr. Elisabeth O’Bryon and FASTalk Sr. Project Manager, Hannah Jong Lee, helped hundreds of leading early childhood educators answer that very question in a powerful workshop, “Supporting our Youngest Readers: Use Data, not Donuts” presented for the Louisiana Department of Education’s Teacher Leader Summit. (OK, some of us are a little obsessed with comfort food.)
In one workshop exercise, participants are asked to identify from a list which family engagement activities most powerfully contribute to improved student outcomes. The highest-impact strategies surprised many of our participants. These strategies — such as teaching parents strategies to support learning and sharing with families regular data on student skill levels — are collaborative, build parents’ capacity, and are directly connected to student learning.
Stressful moments like these require us to maintain focus on what works and find joy in that focus.
What’s your Panera story? If there was one thing you could do to improve teacher-family partnership, what would it be?
Co-Founder,Family Engagement Lab