Ron Clark Academy – Part One

So…  I’m just back from Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.  It was absolutely amazing.  I started writing as I traveled to Atlanta and had planned to write after each day of the training and then have this fabulously neat and trim little post to share.

It hasn’t been quite so easy.  My head was spinning after the first day and spinning even faster after the second.  I couldn’t possibly put thoughts to paper/keyboard after the first day.  It had been such an unbelievable day and there were so many more things that I wanted to know about.  It didn’t feel right to write about it before I’d had the whole experience.

On the way home yesterday, I picked up my laptop over and over and tried to write and I just couldn’t.  There is so much.  So much.

I’m having a bit better time today.  Some of the thoughts have settled a bit and I feel like I’m making a bit of mental progress.  I wanted to post it in chunks, though, because this post will be encyclopedia length otherwise.

Pre-RCA…
As we travel towards Atlanta, I’m thinking about the experience I’m about to have and what I want to come from it.  I’ve followed Ron Clark and his amazing school on social media and in print.  There are things that I am excited to see and that I anticipate learning about.  There are questions that I have about things that might not coexist well with my personalized, student-centered/driven ideas and style.  And…  There are definite outcomes that I want from this experience.  While I typically try not to assign hopes and expectations to special events, everything that I’ve heard about what I’m about to experience is that it will be life-changing.  My career will now be Before-RCA and After-RCA.

Things I think I like:
Joyful student engagement
Tight classroom management
Extreme positivity from all staff
Playful, fun environment
Emphasis on kids being important changemakers now…not just when they get older

Questions I have:
How does student choice fit in with their model?
How do I push for change without pushing?
How do house competitions fit with an anti-extrinsic reward mentality?

Things I want:
Meaningfully connect with inspiring teachers
Get classroom management tips for increasing accountability/sense of urgency
Find ideas for enriching lesson activities
Be bold

There you have it…my pre-RCA mindset.  My next post will reflect on these hopes, wishes, and questions after leaving RCA.

Stay tuned…

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