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Several themes emerged during the trio dialogue this semester.

Although John, Beth and


I all teach different subjects and grade levels, our views on education do not differ that much.
What I learned is that we are all incredibly passionate about the students in our care and that each
of us strives to provide the best educational environment possible. We all work under the guise
that our role as educators is vitally important. Eisner (2001) stated best when he said, The
function of schooling is not to the enable students to do better in school. The function of
schooling is to enable students to do better in life. These words rang true in the conversations
we had and stories we shared.
One overarching theme that we discussed early on was the topic of curriculum. We all
recognized that many of the curricular materials we have available for or use do not meet the
needs of our students. The reasons for this vary, but we found that the one-size-fits-all design
was not uncommon. After studying the commonplaces, we felt milieu was sometimes ignored
either by the curriculum writer or the district that adopted the curriculum. We all believed we
were better off adjusting the curriculum or writing our own to better assist our students.
Curriculum creation also allowed us to focus on a topic at a deeper level than what was
originally noted. This aspect seemed to be important to us all. We all preferred an opportunity to
focus on something in depth instead of breadth.
Our varied stories revealed that we really arent all that different in teaching philosophies.
We all showed deep passion for the students in our classrooms, even when the students were
challenging, complacent, or in crisis. Allowing students to have their voices heard, letting them
know that they matter, often makes them show up even when they dont want to. These stories
only solidified our common thinking that a curricular material as is cannot meet the needs of
everyone. It is more about the power of the teacher that shines through and sets a child up for

success or failure. We have the opportunity to show children that grace can be given and
received, and that it is through grace that we learn from each other.
It is difficult these days to talk about schooling without the mention of standardized
testing, accreditation, or evaluation. All of these areas are heavily debated in the educational
realm, and that was no different in our conversations. We all pondered the idea of authentic
teaching and whether or not this happens when we are being evaluated. There was discussion
about changing our teaching practices during these events so that boxes could be checked. We
all could relate and knew colleagues that had the same viewpoint as us. This seems troubling to
some extent because we are jumping through hoops so to speak. We all strive for authentic
experiences in our classrooms and often when evaluations happen, they feel less authentic.
Through this process I learned that I have become even more passionate and outspoken as
an educator and person over the years. I have seen so much ebb and flow in education since I
entered the field almost 20 years ago. With each passing year I find myself working harder than
I did the year before. Sometimes this feels good, other times it feels frustrating. I always feel
good when I know I have created a classroom environment in which my students feel safe and
are willing to take risks to better themselves as people and stretch there thinking as learners.
This keeps me coming back year after year and helps me focus on how I can grow as an
educator. My frustrations come in the way of more being put on my plate. What I mean is that
I am no longer responsible for just teaching children to read, write, spell, solve math equations,
conduct science experiments, and study history. I now must also focus on: character and health
education, developing English language in non-native speakers, anti-bullying methods,
friendship building activities, tracking misbehaviors, monitoring reading progress every other
week, providing interventions for students with gaps and evaluating every six weeks, etc.

Nothing in education today is becoming easier. However, I guess this is true for most things.
The world is a complex place. What I do know is that even with the frustrations I face, there is
no place Id rather be than my fifth grade classroom.