I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

More Determined Than Ever

The first one through the wall - he always gets bloody. Always.
           ~ Moneyball (movie)

I've broken through. I'll need to bandage my knuckles, but I'm on my way.

My teaching methods have been questioned recently, and I am now more positive that what I'm doing is right. My administration has been behind me since I began "changing things up" last school year (even going so far as to send me to workshops and conferences that helped me change my thinking!), and I'm keeping current with my research and my professional reading.

Now that I'm through, what's next?
Take one step at a time.
     1. Work diligently on communication pieces to parents.
     2. Continue to reflect on my own teaching - answering the WHYs.
     3. Continue to make this learning transparent to coworkers and administration.

Soon I won't be the only one paving the way for other teachers.
Is this a fad? No.
Is this a trend? Maybe.
Is it a shift in education? Yes.
And I believe in it.
Please pass me the peroxide, so I can get back to work.


  1. Dear Joy,
    I laughed aloud when I read the last line of this post. I even read the whole post to my husband.

    I have experienced some questions too, but your steps to make it through the wall are right. Communication with parents, coworkers and administration is always ongoing, as well as teacher reflection, that brings about improved learning for you and your students.

    Such a great metaphor. Keeping breaking down the wall, friend!


  2. Joy: This is spot on! Thank you for sharing :)

    I believe in being transparent too, but have had to learn the hard way about being transparent and warm and caring. I had a parent tell me a few years ago, and I will never forget this, that "Your transparency harms children." That didn't scare me, but did wake me up to being transparent in a different way :)

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    1. Rachel, Your quote there sounds like a blog post waiting to happen!! I'd love to learn what that parent meant by that and how you changed your transparency. I suppose I mean I'm transparent in all I'm doing in class and why - I can't think of how that could harm children, and I really hope it never does! Thank you for reading and commenting - and I hope you blog about it some day. :)