While I was at school today to get a jump on mountains of work, I saw some of my favorite people (my fellow teachers) and we were discussing the "changes" in store for us this year. (It's a running joke in the teaching profession....don't like the way we are doing this now? don't worry-they'll make us do something new next week).
Then tonight, I was browsing some of my favorite teacher blogs and came across an awesome video by Alan November. (He's awesome!) It was inspiring and really got me thinking about the new school year, the endless possibilities and all I want to do to help my students be self-directed, life-long learners who collaborate, question, and search for answers. They have a natural wonder and drive to learn....they don't have to be told to do so. How ironic that teachers strive to prepare students to be life-long learners and collaborators that are well-prepared for the 21st century workplace and are in turn told what to teach, how to teach, how many minutes to teach it, in what style to teach it.....what "program" to follow-and that the program that costs lots and lots of money must be followed to "fidelity." Where is the room for teacher choice, student directed learning, collaboration with colleagues, questioning, searching for answers? Instead of spending time collaborating with teachers about student learning and literature and projects, we spend our time learning a new math program, meeting about a new core map, discussing a new standardized assessment. If teachers were allowed to be the 21st century thinkers that we strive to help our students become, the world would be a better and much different place. I understand that there need to be requirements and goals to be accomplished in each grade and I understand that there are "struggling" teachers, just as there are struggling students. Why not meet with these struggling teachers in small groups....help them to develop.....instead of pouring millions of dollars into a "prescribed one-size-fits-all program" that ironically dumbs-down great teachers. Let us be the productive, self-directed learners we help our students become!