Purposeful Planning: Relinquishing Instructional Control

by Jenn Hayhurst

Purpose is the spark that moves us to action. Purpose ignites a flame that lights the way for deeper learning. Purpose burns deep within each teacher so we can be leaders who advocate for keeping instruction student-centered, always. This was the conversation that inspired the #G2Great chat, Purposeful Planning: Relinquishing Instructional Control, on February 1, 2018.  

How does working with a sense of purpose change us? Expectations. When we have sense of purpose in our work we also have higher expectations for the outcome of our work. This is true for any learner whether they are a teacher or a student.

Purpose Initiates Freedom & Leadership:

Teachers are the most influential leaders in the world, because we are leading students on a journey of self-discovery. We are teaching students to rely on themselves, and when students learn they can rely on themselves they become leaders too.

Every time teachers model how to take risks we set students free. When we are unafraid to try something, wrestle with a problem, or create complex learning experiences we create an expectation for learning. We are teaching them that the productive struggle is to be expected along the way. Each time teachers come to the classroom with a flexible purposeful plan we welcome student thinking into the mix. When we do that, we create stakeholders for learning!

Purpose Honors Identity & Choice:

Every child offers something totally unique. When teachers look at students’ differences as strengths to be  integrated into a purposeful plan, we create something magical.  We create learning opportunities that emphasize their individual talents.

Student voice and choice is not an extra nicety, it’s a necessity!  Surely, these learning opportunities would not be possible without them. Every time students see their interests, their culture, their preferences represented in their classroom they become vested in purpose. Purpose is entirely the point.

Purpose Grows Learning & Success:

In the end, we have to get real about purposeful planning. It’s purposeful planning, not perfect planning. There is no neat and easy road to growth and success. Every time we plan for new experiences, complex thinking, and something a little unexpected we are helping our students to grow beyond what our curriculums asks us to teach.

Resilience is not always innate it can be learned over time. When we see our struggles as a gift, they become badges of honor that every learner can be proud to wear. This is what purposeful planning anticipates and celebrates for students and for teachers alike.

Purpose is defined as, the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. We believe that teacher’s purpose is inextricably linked to student growth. Growth in all its beauty and complexity and for something so big, we have to come at it with a plan. So, plan wisely, plan with great intention and compassion. Plan with optimism and expectations. As Dr. Mary Howard would advise you, plan with heart

On a personal note, I’d like to wish my friend and mentor, Mary Howard, a very Happy Birthday. You are a gift to me and to so many others. You are the ultimate advocate for students and I thank you for pushing me to live up to your high expectations to be a better teacher than I was the day before. Truly, you inspire me in every way every day. xo