Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ben's Final Reflection

1. When you look back over this year’s experience, what are 2 - 3 of your favorite things about being part of the WtS Team?
1) Friday night's "celebration" of the students' products was simply awesome.
2) Watching the growth and development of ALL of the students -- certainly some more than others -- was seriously amazing to witness. 
3) I'm not going to lie: there were moments, here and there, throughout the entire year when my skepticism got the better of me. I lost hope at times, but the kids truly followed through despite any and all barriers blocking them. This was definitely one of my favorite things. 

2. Please describe one or two specific anecdotes that convey your best experiences with this year’s WtS learners.  
During our April Saturday work session, I was at my desk in my classroom, and after an unproductive stretch of time where things were messy and inefficient, I remember one student was working diligently on a website while two others had headphones on while narrating and editing their video. I don't know why, but this was such an awesome moment for me as an educator. It was a Saturday morning and, after some initial frustrations, here were kids doing work that they wanted to do and taking ownership over their own learning.
3. What are 2 - 3 challenges / irritations of being part of the WtS Team this year?
1) I wonder if the overnight retreats could be less structured? I'm not sure if there is any way around this, but they felt longer than they needed to be. Again, I don't know if there is any way to change this, but having had a full week of school only to go and do more "school" work was tough.
2) Working with and talking to some of the students who were not 100% devoted to their topics was definitely an initial struggle. (However, as I pointed out earlier, things turned out great in the end!)

4. As we head into this summer, we’ll be looking to make an even stronger WtS Team, and we’re interested in learning whether, and to what degree, you’d like to continue with the team. In this upcoming round, we’ll have more flexibility this year to create a variety of ways for individuals--Bread Loafers and non Bread Loafers--to join our team and serve our learners. Would you like to remain on our team, and if so, please describe bullet / list the way(s) you’d like to contribute to our team?
The easiest, most obvious answer with regards to next year is "yes!" Honestly, I don't see many more important and better things going on in education than WTS. However, as of this writing, it's May 10th, and, weighing coaching and other options for next year, I'm not 100% ready to commit to next year's calendar of 4 overnight retreats and 4 Saturday work sessions. I certainly want to stay involved in some capacity, so once you've figured out what roles you need fulfilled, I'd love to consider one or more of those.

5. If you’d like to continue with our team, will you be around this summer and/or able to contribute to the refining / re-designing?
Even though I haven't definitively signed on for next year, I'm certainly willing to collaborate this summer if you're looking for input.

6. Finally, please share any lingering ideas / questions about this year’s and/or next year’s experience being a member of the WtS Team.
Awesome experience! Thanks to everyone involved!

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