August Blog Topic – Back to School Advance

By Deborah Rickey, PhD
Associate Dean, College of Education  

teacher in front of a desk

GCU students, faculty and friends: What are YOU going to do to advance your school year?

For most educators, the beginning of a new school year is filled with thoughts of lessons plans, new students and the typical back-to-school retreat. I remember thinking these retreats were as much a part of a new school year as all of the classroom preparation.

Then I heard a speaker present a challenge to use another word for these new school year gatherings:

Back to School Advance!

And it hit me. That is exactly what we all need to be thinking and considering: how to advance our classrooms, schools and our own learning for the school year.

Rather than retreat from the new year, we need to take hold and embrace it, realizing that we, as the teachers and educators in the building, can set a tone for students by how we act and react.

Instead of taking a retreat from the business and busyness of a new school year, what might happen if we all took the approach of advancing the year, creating an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation of great things to come?

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How can I sharpen my practice so that my students will be more engaged?
  • How can I take more ownership of my own learning?
  • What can I do to support the new teachers in my school?
  • How can I make my classroom more inviting to students who struggle with language and cultural issues?
  • How can I make sure every one of my students knows that I care about him or her?
  • What can I contribute to the overall school yearly goals?
  • What am I going to do differently this school year compared to last year?

So, educators: How will you turn a retreat into an advance this year?

Learn more about the College of Education at GCU and how we prepare future teachers for success by visiting our website.

More About Deborah: 

Dr. Deborah Rickey is currently serving as the associate dean in the College of Education at Grand Canyon University. As the Assistant Dean for Unit Effectiveness, Dr. Rickey is responsible for ensuring the college has all the necessary processes in place to help each student develop into an exceptional teacher. Dr. Rickey received her Ph.D. in education from Capella University, her master’s degree from Portland State University and her bachelor’s degree from George Fox College. During her tenure in education, she has been a classroom teacher, a high school principal, a university faculty member and supervisor, and director of graduate programs in education. Dr. Rickey’s research interests include educational leadership, learning theories, professional development, critical thinking and the use of action research in schools and classrooms. She has worked with numerous school districts and leadership on school improvement initiatives and teacher professional development. Recently, she co-authored a book, “The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence,” with long-time educator Dr. Richard Sagor.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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