JHS Teacher, in her 9th year teaching -- you guessed it -- junior high school in California, discusses maintaining the difficult balance between having the freedom to teach the way you want to and ensuring every kid learns what they need to learn.

What we all but Ms. G. decided was that no matter how we teach Response to Literature, or Literary Devices or whatever, we will use the short, multiple choice quiz from the Holt book for each section... It's not a bad way to make sure we are all teaching the same thing, even if we do go about it in different ways.
Ms. G. is having none of it. "I teach Response to Literature" all the time. I don't need to do an assignment from the book or give them a test to know what I'm teaching."
There is a good thing in all of this, and that's making sure that no matter which teacher a student has, no matter what texts are used, we as teachers can cover specific standards, using the same language in each of our classrooms, and use these little 20 minute quizzes to inform our teaching.
Problem is, it's not enough for the top brass, and asking too much of our creative "don't fence me in I'll do it my own way" teachers.

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