The Voices of 2018

Posted on: Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:00

As we prepare to welcome 2019, it is a good time to reflect on 2018.

With 2019 on the horizon, I appreciate taking some time to review the moments in 2018 that were special. Inevitably, those thoughts turn to moments with students and the lessons I learn from them.

The winter season brings the Academic Tournament, and whenever I attend a match, I am reminded of commitment, teamwork, and intensity. These students demand excellence of themselves and others, but they also share laughter and mutual respect with their opponents. I am also reminded that as far as students are concerned, The Carpenters are a music duo from ancient history!

Visiting our SUCCESS students as they did laundry to support homeless families, I witnessed a commitment to community service. They also shared great tips for folding shirts and removing stains! This is another group of students who value teamwork.

Throughout the spring, I had the chance to hear students present projects at science fairs, social studies fairs, and community events. I am always impressed by their confidence and passion. One of my favorite presentations was when the CTC students who won the Lemelson-MIT Invent Team Challenge presented to business leaders. Each student presented the part of the project for which she or he was responsible. They demonstrated teamwork in action and recognized the unique talents of each team member. One of my favorite quotes came from Andrew Daddone when he calmly noted that the hardest part of the project was “teaching ourselves thermodynamics.”

As I visit with seniors every spring, they give me amazing insight and some great quotes to use in graduation speeches. This year, they spoke earnestly with me about diversity and respect. They asked me to create systemic opportunities for students from different schools to interact with each other, and I listened. (More on how staff responded in a future blog.) Most of all they talked about the difference teachers make when they establish relationships with students. So many students told me how teachers inspired them and gave them confidence. Teachers matter!

This fall, I have talked with LYNX students on several occasions. LYNX students are grateful for the opportunities to interact with business leaders and college students. Many have discovered new options for future careers or learned the value of skills they already possess. As one young lady shared with me, “I thought I was just doing all of this stuff for school. I didn’t realize I was getting experience for the future too.”   

Yes, just as our students learn many lessons in school, I feel privileged to be able to learn many lessons from them, and I look forward to more conversations in 2019.

What are some of the lessons you learned in 2018? Share them with me on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And whether or not you agree with this post, if you enjoyed it, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.