As we read and reviewed the articles for this issue, we were struck by the resounding theme of small-scale, granular change.
Teachers deeply know the joy of individual breakthroughs with students, and we also intimately know the satisfaction that our relationships with these students brought about that change. We get front-row seats for watching students grow through the days, weeks and years.
So it is understandable that we would want to replicate that success at larger scales. We look for ways to have a bigger impact; we step outside our classroom doors and wade into the work of departments, schools, districts, and even national networks to find ways to do so. In this issue of Kaleidoscope, though, we see teachers coming back to the scale of inquiring into individual relationships. We hope the stories collected here show that some of the most meaningful impacts that teachers can make begin with the relationships we have with our colleagues and students.
Growth can come from empowering a colleague like Mr. Alvarez, as Ian Caldwell, Heidi Park and Sarah Spector describe in “Shifting Perspectives of Success.” Or developing the self-awareness to know when you’ve fallen into the common pattern of sharing best practices without revealing the process, as Chris Lipski describes in “Setting Teachers Up for Success: A Reflection on Providing Professional Development.” Or in the necessity of finding community with others, as described by Ayanna Perry and Dwaina Sookhoo in “Beyond Diversity: Reflections on Participation from Two Women of Color.”
All of our teacher-writers in this issue illuminate some aspect of the power of this small, relational scale, some aspect of the power of looking closely at what is right in front of us. For Becky, there is a parallel to music making: one of her teachers, as she was learning to play the French horn, told her to not worry about anything but ensuring that each sound she was producing was beautiful. Similarly, the teachers in these pages are teachers working to improve the spaces in which they move, making each relationship, system and experience more humane and, thus, more impactful.
Rebecca Van Tassell
Kirstin Milks, a Knowles Senior Fellow, is an editor-in-chief at Kaleidoscope. Reach Kirstin at email@example.com.
Rebecca Van Tassell, a Knowles Senior Fellow, is an editor-in-chief at Kaleidoscope. Reach Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org.