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Animating the Ignatian Vision

This is my year-end reflection on my second year teaching at Regis Jesuit High School
by

Ryan Katz

on 3 May 2016

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Transcript of Animating the Ignatian Vision

Pedagogy
Improving the self...
Great teachers, great schools
Building a Community
So, what can I do differently?
Have I created an environment that fosters
personal and professional care and support?
Growing in unpredictable ways...
Dipping below
and Fostering Collaboration
An education provides opportunities
for students and teachers
Pillars of Improvement
Open To Growth
In a world that revolves around answers, I
sometimes feel like I am too open to growth.
I've often felt like I spend a lot of time
reflecting and questioning and not showing
the world my passion and my work.
Committed to Doing Justice
I feel like I'm always trying
to do the right thing. Whether
it be in or outside of the class-
room.
My time in education has been tough for me though. Much of what I have done - decisions or actions that I believe are right - have become problems for a lot of people...
I often juxtapose my need to adapt with
my qualities I need to keep. It's not easy to
decipher. In the meantime, I always try
to do the right thing. That is all that I can
ask for myself. It's all I can ask of anyone...
Loving
I've always struggled with looking
beyond self-interest and
self-centeredness.
And when my selflessness takes over,
I can see each student for who he is,
and I can cherish his being. I've gotten
much better at this...
...ya know, loving the person and
not having to love his actions
Intellectually Competent
Which makes me aware of my position: I am 14
years older than my Freshmen and only 10 years
older than my Seniors.
Which means that I can reach them on a level many cannot. Which means I have an inside track
to gaining their empathy. Which means I can really
get them to love learning!
Relgious
As a child, I attended a Lutheran Church.
The majority of my life, however, I have not followed a religion very closely.
But teaching at Regis Jesuit has given me an insight into something beautiful. I am currently looking into converting.
What I love most about my school
is the spirituality amongst the people
with whom I work...
...because I work with good people.
A teacher's intellectual competence is seen in two categories: content knowledge and classroom management. Both are skills that can be learned.
Can I improve on my intellectual competence as a teacher? Yes. Do I feel like, at this point in my career, that I am capable of successfully teaching my students exactly what they need to prepare them for college and life?
My improvement in a nutshell: When I first started teaching, people would ask me what I taught. I always responded with, "students." Over my 4 years teaching, that response has gone from an ideal to a reachable standard. I think that's pretty amazing. It's also pretty sweet that my students exceed department standards in regards to content knowledge and 21st century skills.
Yes and a little. For myself, I have sought people who believe in my potential and give me critical feedback; however, the majority of my professional development has come from my own research and willingness to improve. If I had one request, I'd wish for more formal feedback.
On a personal level, I feel that everyone
at my school wants me to be happy and healthy,
and I do believe we are all good people trying to
do our best.
I have not done a great job fostering collaboration
with my colleagues because I have allowed my frustration, anger, and fear to serve as an excuse. It's taken a long time to understand that any relationship will always be a two-way street. Thus, if I want a change, I'll have to standup for it and make the change...
We seek to educate students within
a world view so everything in creation
has the potential to bring us closer to
love, passion, and living well.

The end goal of creating a relevant education
is to get students to make their education tangible.
A teacher engages the student's mind, heart,
body, and soul; thus evoking both
an intellectual and affectual responses.
What does Pedagogy mean...
To teachers?
To you?
School focuses on many things. Education, however, is concerned solely with relating information, experiences, and skill sets to our students' lives and empowering them to respond in unique ways.

Experience
Context
Action
Evaluating
the Surface...
So, you've got the education. What are you going to do with it?
Students can do this internally and externally.
Which is shown, externally, through a student's openness to growth, spirituality, commitment to doing justice and willingness to love.
I envision a curriculum designed for students and teachers to dig an inch across and a mile wide - as opposed to a mile wide and an inch deep. If this occurs, students and teachers will begin to want to learn for themselves and not just for school, for their parents, or for their careers.
So, how do we evaluate a teacher's worth?
Well, it's always difficult to evaluate a teacher's value; however, over the past two years, I have received incredible feedback from many people. Let me share a few examples:
Yet despite some amazing work, truly amazing work, the most frustrating aspect of evaluating a teacher's value is knowing that our purpose is to only plant a few seeds into our students' minds, hearts, and souls. How they'll grow because of our influence will, in many ways, always remain a mystery.
I just need to believe that
each student will blossom
into the man for others that
his Ignatian education
prepared him to be.
How can these experiences be quantified and proven? The teacher and student will learn how to create an adaptable means that can be translated into many different fields of expertise.
Please join me as I
share my
4 Key Elements:
...and a lot more to do with the
people with whom I work.
Another key ingredient to being an educator has little to do with the classroom...
Then, they may actually learn
to like learning.
And one day...
But teaching is only half the battle.
YES!
As I grow, though, it becomes more natural
Education
& Schooling
Creating relevancy has everything to do with creating empathy. Thus, teachers and students should be encouraged to learn about the other before anything else is discussed.
Though I cherish every compliment or note of encouragement, I feel another means to evaluate a teacher's value, besides standardized test scores, is the work produced by his or her students. Thus, I'd like to share two works that mean the world to me.
but I frequently fail...
And that's my...
...honest reflection.
Thank You.
...experience a personalized education about themselves!
with help from a book on dialogue
But I am, at least, aware of how much I've grown and improved since I first started teaching. Though recognition rarely comes from a colleague, I am aware that collaboration in education is a new thing. Thus, I know I'll have to give it some time.
Let's begin!
The best teachers, then, create environments designed
for collaboration, problem solving, and...
"I feel that Mr. Katz will set an example
to other teachers. He is raising the bar
for others and for himself. That is
impressive!"
This will be a lifelong skill relevant to any field. Students and teachers will learn how to gather, interpret, and share data in a way that reveals the worth of work.
So...how should teachers approach the classroom?
1. How is this relevant to the lives of my students?

2. How students be guided to internalize the relevancy?

3. How can results be personal and objective?
Moving on!
That's what I mean by internalizing an education.
"Mr. Katz, I know I've told you something similar to this, but you've taught me more since I have been at Regis than I have ever learned. I just wanted to thank you. I took some risks tonight. I spilled the water. Nothing dangerous, just fun stuff."
"Coach Katz, You are a staple of my Regis career. You never stopped believing in my as a player or as a person. You challened me in so many ways and shaped me into the person that I am..."
"Mr. Katz, Coach Katz, you have changed my life by writing me your letter. I am not quite sure how it will change me overall, all I know is your letter got me onto the path that I've always wanted to be on. I don't think that many of the people I know would have the time to help me. For that, I truthfully thank you."
"...also, I was incredibly pleased with the movie Jack created in English at the end of last semester. Obviously, you have inspired him to think outside the box, and become more aware of himself in a very effective, creative way. As the mom of teen boys, I don't get a lot of feedback about their inner struggles or triumphs. Through this project, however, I was able to see Jack in a special way. Thank you for this assignment and for creating trust so that Jack could feel safe to share himself in such a vulnerable way."
"You have so many gifts that you've shared with our students - thank you for that. Thanks also for modeling positive adult behavior...I know students and faculty are affected by your positivity."
"I pray for Ryan. For his courage in coming to a retreat, that he knew nothing about, with an open mind and heart and for being willing to share so much of himself with all of us."
It's taken me many years, but I'm finally starting to believe that my willingness to seek professional development and willingness to reflect as Ignatius asks are qualities found in the leaders our students and our system of education needs.
Thus, I know shouldn't be frustrated at any of the resistance against a constant desire to improve, evaluate, question, and reflect.
...and I think it starts with a friendly conversation.
I suppose that's the downside of being an introvert in a profession geared toward extroverts.
Solution?
Experience helps. Professional development helps, too. And these are just a few of the books I use as references:
All the while remembering that the worth of work must also be internally rewarding. Similar to John Wooden's definition of success: "Success is peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."
A.K.A.
to develop their leadership paradigms.
...which, as I'm learning, isn't a bad thing.
In fact, I've learned that disagreeing can often uncover and lead to beautiful, and frequently hidden, solutions.
Student work will then blend with teacher work. Over time, all work produced will have a personalized, deepening, and shared meaning.
The work our students produce are called "Capstone Projects."
I think it also shows intellectual competence to understand that teaching well often has very little to do with intelligence....instead, it's the "skill" of being able to connect with students. This is something that can't be taught...
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