Written on August 22, 2021
Taking the time to thoroughly read, and in some cases reread multiple times, the Seattle Pacific University (SPU) Mission and Vision Statements, the School of Education Conceptual Framework, the Digital Education Leadership (DEL) handbook, and the Racial Justice Statement was invaluable (Seattle Pacific University, 2017, 2020, n.d.a, n.d.b). I start work again tomorrow. This year is already filled with chaos and the unknown and we have not even welcomed students back into our classrooms yet. Reading these documents has helped to ground me and remind me why I entered the field of education to begin with – to reach others and help guide them on their learning journey. My personal philosophy of education and learning has always been that if you can read you can do anything, I think that is why I love being an English Language Arts teacher. SPU is my third religiously affiliated institution for higher learning, and I always feel a sense of purpose when I reflect on how much my teaching philosophy is rooted in the schools I have chosen to attend throughout my education. These documents helped remind me of that.
I believe taking the time to remind ourselves why we teach and why it is important not only to be inclusive in our teaching practices, but to recognize when we have failed to be inclusive is important (SPU, 2017). It makes us better educators when we take the time to reflect, not only on those things that we have done well but also those on where we have missed the mark. The Racial Justice Statement does just that. It reminds us that we are not perfect and there is room for growth, but that growth must come with significant work (SPU, 2017).
Completing the mind map (see Figure 1) was challenging for me, I am an English teacher and I tend to be verbose. The two word per branch limit was difficult at times. It really made me think hard about what was truly necessary to communicate the idea and what could be left unsaid. I think the mind map method is valuable and something I will get better at with practice.
I think that reading these four documents is something that involves us all. I think that reading these four documents is something that involves us all. As both students and educators we should be committed to the mission and vision of SPU, and as educators we should all be striving to make our classrooms and the larger world outside of our classrooms more racially just. I found this assignment enjoyable because, as I said above, I am back in my classroom starting tomorrow, and this is an excellent way to set the tone not only for this program that I am embarking on, but for the school year I am about to start together with my students.
Seattle Pacific University. (2017). School of theology statement on racial justice. Seattle Pacific University. https://spu.edu/academics/school-of-theology/about/2017-statement
Seattle Pacific University. (2020). Digital education leadership MEd program student handbook. Seattle Pacific University. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KiAhc0yl2CLY7nVxc-Br5vpJtx03144SW62c4QIm7vE/edit?usp=sharing
Seattle Pacific University. (n.d.a.). Mission, core themes, and vision. Seattle Pacific University. https://spu.edu/about-spu/mission
Seattle Pacific University. (n.d.b.). School of education conceptual framework. Seattle Pacific University. https://spu.edu/academics/school-of-education/about/four-commitments/conceptual-framework