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Blog: Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Fifty Weeks of Innovation

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Happy New Year! I recently read a very interesting blog post which spoke to the content of the next 50 blog posts you will see on this site. It came from Ryan Fuller, a former aerospace engineer, who now works as a novice teacher in Colorado. His post appeared in TeacherPop and was entitled Teaching Isn’t Rocket Science--It’s Harder.

Ryan's basic premise is that teaching is tremendously complex and hard work, and that while some may think rocket science is difficult, it pales in comparison to the numerous tasks teachers have to execute on a daily basis.  He says:
"As a teacher, I must prioritize the problems of getting the distracted students refocused and stabilizing the cross-classroom conflict before it escalates into a shouting match or worse, all the while making sure the learning of the other 25 students in the room doesn’t come to a complete halt. I also must address these problems in a consistent, respectful way that best serves the needs of the students, because if I don’t, the problems will increase in number and become more difficult to solve.

“As an engineer, I dealt with very complex design problems, but before I decided how to solve them, I had a chance to think, research, and reflect for hours, days, or even weeks. I also had many opportunities to consult colleagues for advice before making any decisions. As a teacher, I have seconds to decide how to solve several problems at once, for hours at a time, without any real break, and with no other adults in the room to support them. There are days of teaching that make a day in the office seem like a vacation."
He goes on to distinguish between the work done in front of the students ("the performance"), and the work done behind the scenes to make instruction more productive and engaging ("the planning"). 

Ryan knows what all of us who have taught know. It is difficult, but inspiring work. As a tribute to this profoundly important work, I have asked each of our school and district leaders to share innovative, exciting and inspiring work underway in their schools or departments. While I have left it up to them to select and highlight this work for their school, I anticipate that you will see individual and teams of teachers doing groundbreaking work to help students be successful. It will bely the very complexity which Ryan Fuller has identified. Given the limitations of space, we will not be able to share all of the great work underway in the district. It is my hope that over each of the next 50 weeks, you will get an idea of the special place that is Abbotsford School District, and the tremendously dedicated people who support our students.

By Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Kevin has been the Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District since July 2011, overseeing some 19,000 students and 2,500 employees. Kevin is committed to student success in all forms and envisions a school district that can nimbly respond to the ever changing needs and interests of its students.