This is the vision I wrote this year for my classroom. One of the many reasons I'm inspired each day I come into work? Each staff member at my school wrote a vision--and lives it each day.
Students in Cal will be active learners who love to read and write for fun, to play “school” at home. They love to read and write in school, but Cal students will realize the vision of our class when they are pulling books off the shelf to read “just because” at home, when their parents can’t keep paper and crayons away from them, because they have stories to tell and want to write all day long. In Cal, students will show a thirst for knowledge by asking questions about all that we are learning and by sharing what they have learned with someone else. Cal students will be leaders in the classroom. They will know the routines and procedures of the classroom so well they can explain it to a new student or a visitor in the classroom. They will be able to tell people why we learn what we learn--why are letters and sounds important? Why do I need to know how to add? How is my learning important to me?
The classroom will feel like it belongs to the students, not like they are operating within a classroom community the teacher has created but rather one they have created, and so it will be unique. The Cal Bears this year will have a community different than the Cal Bears next year or any other year have, because they will be a part of shaping how things are done and what our class looks like.
Cal Bears will greet each other with smiles, and even though it may take them longer to leave class at the end of the day, it will likely be because they will be saying goodbye to all their friends...and they will always give their teacher a handshake, high-five, or a hug at the end of the day. Just like the routine of a parent who always needs a hug and a kiss from his/her child upon arrival at school, the handshake, high-five, or hug will be that constant at the end of the day, the part in the day that lets a student know, regardless of what color a student finishes on or how an assessment went, you are a part of this classroom. Feeling important and feeling valued is the only nonnegotiable in Cal, because it will help us achieve all our other goals.
Some days it won’t be easy, but the vision of a class isn’t realized in one day, one week, or one month, and it’s not supposed to be easy. Much as I look back on when I was younger and realize: “Wow, I now know that my parents made those choices out of love for me,” at the end of the day, the week, the month, and the year, Bears will reflect and realize the Cal classroom was built on a community of love and family...and great books. Cal Bears will be a part of a great community they have created with their friends and their families, and in the process of creating this community, they will have made huge growth academically and socially and thus begun their climb up the mountain to college.