It has been a crazy week. Having taken over our after-school program Kid’s Club, I find that I am forced to become a much more organized person. So far my days have been filled with pulling twelve-hour days only to come home to more grading and planning.
The week has also been filled with meetings. These are the kinds of meeting that I like, meetings that are centered clearly on our students. Earlier this year our school won an award for being a “New Wisconsin Promise School of Recognition.” Despite being a rural school with few resources we have managed to get 100% of our sixth grade students meeting or exceeding our state testing requirements. You would not know it by how hard we are working to not only meet the needs of our students, but to exceed them. We have spent the week poring over multiple tests and informal assessments trying to find areas of improvement, trying to use the tools we have to raise an already high bar higher still.
I listened to a radio program a few years ago about the Numi automotive plant in Oakland California. It was a GM plant that was built as a result of a partnership with Toyota, GM’s chief rival. The “Toyota Way,” as it was called, was for a system of continuous improvement in which everyone at every level was responsible for quality control and eliminating wasted time. What if more schools were run like that, where it was everyone’s job to see kids succeed?
It’s working with people this committed that makes me proud of where I am and who I am working with. There are days that I miss my landscaping jobs, where I knew clearly when the job was done, with teaching, you never are done. With 100% of the kids meeting our goals, we are still not done! I know I am in the right line of work because even as I drive home from a 12 hour day to a stack of papers that need grading and lesson plans to chart out, I can’t wait for tomorrow, where I will be surrounded by professionals who put our clients first, where I pay off my students in jelly beans and animal balloons and the same little girl in kindergarten will yell at me across the cafeteria and tell me that I smell like a clean cow, whatever that means.