Young and in love, his wife pregnant with their second child, my new science teacher arrived at school early today, as always, an overflowing bouquet of flowers in his hand. Is he thanking someone, I wondered, or just really early getting flowers to give his wife. They’ll wilt, the dad in me thought; I’m more paternal than ever in my role as a principal.

“Nice,” I said as he passed my office. He smiled broadly, and I could picture how happy his pregnant wife would be when he got home with the flowers. He held the bouquet up next to his head and said two unexpected words: “Plant dissection!”

And he was gone, off to his classroom to prepare for a day of cutting those flowers apart.

photo 1 (14)Teachers like this compose the majority of the educators I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Unlike the sometimes critical depiction in popular culture, in more than two decades in education I’ve seen many teachers give up their own time and resources, investing in making their students’ experiences in the classroom the best they can be.

The teachers I know, and especially those here at Diegueño, are generous of spirit and thrive on innovation in service of learning.

Just this fall I’ve seen history teachers collaborate to create projects that give students hands on experiences to bring social studies alive. Whether putting in the extra effort of coordinating a mock election or designing a new research activities that take advantage of our increased student technology, these teachers inspire kids.

Inspiration takes many forms on campus, from student designed and constructed airplane models zooming above the grass by the CE Smart lab to students coding their own video games, from improv in acting class to found poetry in English class. Our young musicians, athletes, and scientists all have opportunities to engage in the challenge and reward of learning.

In math, a hotbed of innovation as we transition to an integrated approach and implement the common core, teachers seem never to stop working together to improve the learning experiences for our kids. I’ve seen math teachers purchase manipulatives, give up lunch hours to help kids, and stay long past the end of the school day to work with each other.

Across campus I see teachers creating opportunities for students to learn: the Chihuly art installation in our media center, the Dual Language Immersion program student blog, American Revolution podcasts, the list goes on.

Professional, caring, and supportive, our teachers make a difference. Love of teaching and learning is one of the things that makes Diegueño the great place it is.

A place worthy of bringing flowers.

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