Ultimately, as reflection often does, it has led me down a rabbit-hole of more questions that I hope will shed light on the path to take for next year as the journey continues. I'd like very much to be as great, if not better at this than I feel about my abilities in the classroom. And although I've been reminded to stop thinking like a teacher, there is a part of me that will always retain those connections and commitment so I can continue to empathize and build capacity to the best of my ability.
While we are doing all of this stuff for the folks on our team, we also have to stay true to ourselves. Although we may not be able to go at the pace we wanted, we should still act with personal integrity, so we never lose sight of what we believe.
Almost certainly, I will never love testing or scores or any kind of evaluation that labels people insufficiently whether it is a student or a teacher, but I understand that in today's climate that is a part of the game for now. And because of that, I will work hard to treat the situation humanely, assuming the best of everyone and hoping they do the same for me.
The lens through which we approach teaching defines so much of how success will look. It's time we invite students into this conversation.
Testing has become an unfortunate, but an integrated part of the learning process and within that are the questions established to test students' ability to think. Too often, the questions that appear easiest on the page really are meant to deceive in complicatedly simplistic ways. Questions can lie and easily mislead students. It is our job as educators to help students break apart the meaning of each question to better be able to answer in the most effective ways. Check out this excerpt from The Power of Questioning.
Guest blogger Samuel Williams of Curtis High School in Staten Island shares how students can do extraordinary things when they are empowered to run school events. Read on to see what success can look like in this school and maybe in yours.
Let's spend more time in school promoting a culture of curiosity and learning that transcends school, not because we want to grade kids on it or give them extra credit or punish them for not doing it, but because learning for the sake of learning is its own reward. We can foster a love of reading in so many different ways.
By Jackie Andrejko and Starr Sackstein Peeking into the room, I see students attentively gathered on the rug, sitting before their teacher who is animated while she explains the activity they are about to start. Students eagerly wait for the cue to get up and move to their stations. They have small, handheld whiteboards with post-its already on them with sentence starters and they know what they are going to be doing. (And just in case they forget, the teacher has projected the directions in writing on the board). And they are off. As an observer, this is what we ...
All students learn at a different pace and we need to honor the time it takes for all students to participate and engage with the learning in a way that makes sense to each of them. Let's try not to unintentionally take that opportunity away from them.
Admin, spend time setting goals with your teachers. Agree upon what they want to work on and then visit frequently, looking for the specific areas the teachers set goals on. Provide them feedback beyond "that was good". Try to be specific in where they are applying strategies and if they aren't applying any strategies, provide some for them or put them in touch with another teacher who does it well already who can help.