Monday, January 26, 2015

If you think... PART 2

If you think that having a large group of teachers, 98% of which are not qualified or capable of analyzing statistics properly, look at test scores for an hour is called "data analysis", I disagree with you.
* Instead, I would call this a huge waste of taxpayers money and a huge waste of the teachers' time.

If you think that having a principal or other administrator talk about a topic they read about or learned at one conference is called "professional development", I disagree.
* Instead, I would call this a "joke" and a huge waste of the teachers' time.

If you think that correcting students by telling them it is "May I go to the bathroom" has a positive Return on Investment, I disagree.
* In terms of grammar +0.25 pts.  In terms of rapport building -100,000 pts.

If you think that making a student who is struggling in school stay in at recess to do homework is a good idea, I disagree with you.
* They most likely dislike school already.  Now they really dislike it.  Also, you are taking away the hour at school that they are engaged in play and probably learn more than they do for the rest of the day.

If you think that an appropriate answer to "Why should we learn this?" is "Because I am the adult and I said so." I disagree with you.
*  You are being a bully.  Students deserve a better answer than this.

New Section. Intended to spark conversation.



Our education system is broken.  Most teachers I talk to agree.  It is admirable to stick with it and help the 30 students in your classroom.  This isn't the solution, however.

It is not a good idea to buy dogs from a puppy mill.  Why?  Some would say that it is good because you are "rescuing the dogs".  I disagree.  By purchasing these dogs, we are perpetuating the puppy mill to continue.  If they sell dogs, there is more reason to breed more.  

If you stay in the broken classroom, without fighting hard for change each day, you are perpetuating a broken system of education.  Why would it change?  There is a lot of rumble about reform, but not a lot of action..... and so a 100 year old, outdated system, continues on.

Do something.  What you are doing is not enough.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Everybody is afraid

The question I'd ask every administrator and school board is, "Does this curriculum you teach now make our society stronger?"
                                              - Seth Godin in Stop Stealing Dreams

This is not a hypothetical statement.  This is a call to action.  Why wouldn't you ask every administrator this? Why wouldn't you ask ever school board this?  Yet, very few will.  For some reason we have reached a point in which we are afraid that by asking an administrator or school board member whether the "curriculum makes our society stronger", we are being offensive.

If anyone has the courage to ask this, and they reply "yes", please ask them "How?"  Please share their responses in the comments.  I do not expect to hear back from many.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Students Deserve Better

This video is for every student I ever taught.  My future work to help revolutionize education is for every future student.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve.  I am an introvert by nature, but I feel like a wild animal backed into a corner.  It is time for the learning revolution!

If you think......

If you think that assigning students to groups and having them work on a project during class is teaching collaboration, I disagree.

If you think that having students give a Power Point presentation to the class about the project they just did is teaching communication, I disagree.

If your class is ran the same way it was before the internet was invented, I don't think you are preparing students for their futures.

If you don't know what each of your students is passionate about, I don't think you know your students well enough.

If you think personalized learning means giving different deadlines for the same worksheet, I don't think you understand this concept.

If you think that grades and percentages are quality feedback on learning, I disagree.

The Real Reason

I have been working hard for the past year to represent students and help them receive a more relevant education that prepares them for the REAL world, and not just the fantasy world of school. I have noticed that teachers want change. The majority of teachers I have met have been completely "on board" with revolutionizing our education system. I have noticed something that is somewhat disheartening, though. It seems that too often administration and district leaders are too busy to take this "transforming education" concept seriously. They often listen and nod their heads, but do not seem poised to take immediate action.

In order to improve my "pitch" I have started mentioning the fact that the new student assessments (standardized tests) that are coming out are MUCH different than the old ones. While the old ones relied on the lower level skills such as recall, classifying, and identifying, the new ones will focus on higher level skills such as analyzing, investigating, and creating.  The strange thing, is that when I mention this, often administrators become more engaged in the conversation and begin to ask about strategies to deal with this.

I feel dirty when I take this angle, but whatever works.  If it helps equate to the change our students deserve, I will talk about the tests.

I do want to mention, however, that I do not care at all about the tests. I care about students, and preparing them to be successful in their futures.  I care about learning. I care about real feedback.

I do want to mention, though, that until we all unite and stand up against these tests, along with the many traditional or passed down practices that are holding back our students, we will not see change.  We need a strong voice advocating for change.  We do not need teachers' lounge conversations that amount to nothing.

Stop perpetuating a broken system.

*** I have worked with and know many administrators that are very progressive and working hard to fight for change.  Thank you!  This article is not talking about you.