There are many thoughts and ideas about improving the educational system in the US, and with that, there have been many to take the podium on how to properly fix it. We have gone from individual state standards to the present day implementation (almost) of the Common Core State Standards. We went through No Child Left Behind, which, unfortunately, pushed every student ahead- whether they were ready or not. Sometimes the answer to a problem is so close that we actually look past it. We have made educating our kids much to complex- from standards, to Higher Order Thinking Skills- we have forgotten that in its simplest terms, it needs to be ALL ABOUT OUR STUDENTS!
Don’t misunderstand my message. It is great to have standards, it is great to provide Higher Order Thinking Skills, and it is great to even have Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, none of these items will be the constant that provides success to our students in today’s classroom and the future educational system. These are all tools to build upon in delivering an environment in which a child can be successful in, but we have lost sight of the true foundation it must be built upon. So while we are implementing these policies, the foundation upon which we build continues to crumble.
The foundation to learning for any individual is to have them inspired and passionate to learn. If we were able to create the perfect environment where the CCSS were implemented with properly trained teachers who had the best of the best content materials, both digital and in print, there would still be no guarantee that a student will learn. What has been forgotten is the power and influence a teacher can have on a student. While most say that teachers do a lot more than babysit, there is no denying that it is all teachers are given credit for. With that being said, I will be dedicating my blog to tell stories from fellow teachers and myself regarding some of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of how they personally touched the lives of their students and how students touched their lives. While each and every person can name the teacher or teachers that most influenced us in our lives, how many of us can do the same for a textbook, standard, politician, or trending reform project? The truth is that teachers are the backbone to our educational system, and we have to get back to focusing on supporting the power within each teacher to inspire the students they educate!
If you are a teacher or a student with an inspiring story that you would like me to include in the series: Please send me your story along with a picture to email@example.com
Thank you- and as always, please Share, Like, and Comment.
One thought on “Educational Reform- Let’s Start HERE!”
Success stories for teachers are an intangible thing. Intuitively, we know they happen, but because of our definition of success, we may rarely, if ever, truly witness it as it happens.
Many years ago, while seeking my first teaching job, I was crafting what I hoped would be the perfect resume. Right beneath my name was the most important line of text: Objective.
What was my objective? To obtain a job as an elementary school teacher? No, that’s plainly obvious because the only people reading my resume are screening teaching applicants.
I knew my objective had to reflect my perspective on teaching. I finally settled on something like this – To help develop and nurture a love of learning within my students that reaches beyond the classroom and affects all aspects of their lives.
A lofty goal? Perhaps. But if we’re being honest with our definition of success and our objectives as teachers, it fairly accurately sums up or hopes and aspirations.
So how do we know when it happens? There’s no fireworks, no confetti, and no applause. (Well, that last one’s not entirely true. Occasionally, something rare, unexpected, and surprising happens that causes the class to erupt into laughter and applause, often at my expense).
Teachers are intrinsically motivated. Our success is most commonly experienced internally. When I share a novel with my students that I loved as a child, and craft that experience so it includes opportunities for sharing, predicting, imagining, and experimenting with possibilities, the payoff is immeasurable.
When I help my students to see that history is all around them, pointing out the obscure and unnoticed people, places, and things that are hiding in plain sight, I feel like I’ve accomplished something important.
And when I get them to try something new, I’m a rock star. For some, it’s reading their first novel from cover to cover. For others, it’s completing a complex mathematical algorithm they thought impossible. And for a few, it’s simply raising their hand and taking a risk to answer a question in a room full of peers.
My success story happens every day when I get up and go to work because these things happen less frequently each and every day. My job has become highly scripted and incredibly inflexible. I have to prepare them to take a test rather than prepare them for life. Every day I ask them to do things I know they are not developmentally ready to do, all the while telling them that I know they can do this if they just try hard enough.
I spend my time looking through standardized test questions and selecting the lessons that are most likely to help them pass the test. I look for websites that practice the skills they need to be proficient. And I mine for data, trying to decipher which student would benefit from which prescriptive remedy.
So why do I do it day after day, year after year? Because, despite it all, there are still small moments of success that give me enough motivation to come back and do it all again.