I went on a bit of a pedagogy-reading kick last spring and summer, and I totally enjoyed it. With colleagues, I read and talked about Grant J. Wiggins and Jay McTighe's Understanding by Design and Ron Ritchhart's Creating Cultures of Thinking. Also, in preparation for the week-long seminar I took on race and inclusion and independent schools, I did a lot of reading about the development of racial identity, especially Beverly Daniel Tatum's Can We Talk About Race? and Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Plus, my 9th-grade English teachers and I got together over the summer and significantly revamped a major component of our shared course, and in doing so revamped a bunch of other parts of the course as well.
And this was all good, and I'm glad for the reading and the experiences.
Also, I'm exhausted. I changed things about my teaching and my courses, and I added some new components, and I feel really good about these changes. But it's been lots of work.
So one of the things I did for myself when I didn't get the academic dean position was to promise myself that I could take things a little easier. Today I returned yet another pedagogy book to the library, unread, and it was quite a relief.
Here's the thing: I'm a really good teacher. That doesn't mean I can't be better, and I think it's the responsibility of all teachers to keep honing their craft. But that doesn't mean I need to be doing this honing constantly; rather, I'd like to have seasons of such professional development, and other seasons in which those ideas take root. And, if we keep going with this new metaphor, maybe even other times when I'm letting my craft lie fallow for a bit.
So I'm declaring that this spring -- and maybe this summer and next year as well -- as a time for not continuing to push myself pedagogically but rather letting myself relax into and absorb the changes I've already made. I feel myself unwind even writing those words.
(Sorry for the conglomeration of mixed metaphors in this post. I'm way too lazy to go back and make them all cohere.)