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16 September 2014 @ 09:56 am
Practice  
I like that certain professions refer to what they do as their practice. I think that term is one I try to hold close as I enter in my 38th year of teaching. Because I am still practicing. I still do not think I have it all 100% right and good. I am still searching for the BETTER.

This is what annoys me when I see teachers who are not only reluctant to try new things; they stubbornly refuse to even try it; they turn a blind eye to it. When I try something new and it is not as miraculous as I had hoped, I ask myself how I could make it better. Where did I go wrong? Is there a missing element somewhere that I ignored? How can I make it better?

So, most semesters find me noodling with my reading list, fiddling with assignments, creating new screencasts as demonstrations. I cannot imagine how my practice would be different if I had not welcomed change, if I had not attempted to practice.

Why do some of us become insulated and isolated, caught up in the regimen of one year exactly like the last year and the next year?

As a kid, I hated avocado when I first tasted it. Now, I could eat a whole one without blinking. I feel the same way about books. For a long time, I pushed away anything in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. And then I tried one, and I liked it. Do I love them all? Am I fantasy fan? Not quite, but I do read widely in the genre. I try to do the same for other genres, forms, and formats. How do I know what I might like unless I give it a go?

So, I will go on practicing. I will read the work of Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle, Linda Rief, and others much as I did Nancie Atwell and Lucy Calkins as a beginning teacher. I will seek out others in a PLN so that disparate voices might inform my practice. This week, my PLN offered me insight into teaching math, reading series books, and so much more. If I were not open to the practice, look at what I might have missed.

Practice does not necessarily make perfect in my case. But it does make it better, more meaningful, and much more productive.

ETA: Please see an excellent post about practice here: http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/our-practice-our-selves/
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