All of us are Mr. Holland at some point in his life. Maybe you feel as he did in his early career and view our jobs as just getting through material. Or perhaps you have found your groove and have seen first hand how building relationships and connecting curriculum to students’ lives plays a vital role in student success. Some of you may find yourself at the end of his career and thinking like he did, “You work for 30 years because you think that what you do makes a difference, you think it matters to people, but then you wake up one morning and find out, well no, you've made a little error there, you're expendable.” Rest assured he finds the last quote to be incorrect when a successful graduate stands and says:
Mr. Holland had a profound influence on my life and on a lot of lives I know. But I
have a feeling that he considers a great part of his own life misspent. Rumor had
it he was always working on this symphony of his. And this was going to make
him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr. Holland isn't rich and he isn't famous, at
least not outside of our little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a
failure. But he would be wrong, because I think that he's achieved a success far
beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that
you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are
your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We
are the music of your life.
Where is your compass? Educational Research (2003) states, “Research shows that effective teachers are the most important factor contributing to student achievement.” Hattie (2015) has research that shows that the educators role in a student’s life and and teacher efficacy are the top indicators of student achievement. The lessons you design, the interactions that occur with your students, the strategies you use, and the feedback you provide matter. YOU matter! Tusky Valley is where it’s at because of the people that show up, not just in the physical sense, but those that “show up” in our students lives and set goals to continue to evolve as an educator. At the beginning of this year we started off by asking what we wanted graduates of Tusky Valley to look like. Many of those qualities don’t come from state standards or textbooks but by modeling and intentionality. Don’t be afraid to change the way we’ve always done something or think that we have to wait until next school year to try something new. Look for opportunities for growth, take a risk, and change a life! We must not allow our compass to get stuck by laying blame on things we can’t control or making excuses. Build the environment and culture you know is necessary to continue doing what’s best for kids- we’re here to help. Our book study continues to thrive as we discuss and learn from each other on how we can make small changes that make big impacts. I’m grateful to those of you who consistently take time to meet and then help lead in each of our buildings. Conversations and activities are happening throughout the district on a daily basis that promote student learning and growth, and it it is inspiring as I visit classrooms and hear all that is taking place.
As we continue to review mid-year data and plan for the rest of the school year, the impact you are making is very noticeable.. Keep fighting the good fight! I am humbled and honored to work with the great people of TVLS!