Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teacher Proofing Education

How many of you were given a scripted curriculum to use this year?
How many of you are required to follow a pacing guide for your subject area?
How many of you are required to spend 40 minutes (or more) every day doing sustained silent reading (SSR) with your students?
How many of you are required to teach daily/weekly the state test's preparation guide?
How many of you in English teach the same novels that your peer across town teaches?
How many of you in Science teach to the text and decreased labs?

Keeping this in mind. . .

How many of you are teaching in inclusive settings, whether or not you were consulted or even equipped to do so?

How many of you have had your budget cut but the expectations rose dramatically?

How many of you feel pressure to make AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress)?

Oh, I'm sorry. . . you can't raise your hands in response to these questions - YOUR HANDS ARE TIED!

In response to the NCLB initiative that seeks to provide a quality teacher in every classroom, albeit a noble cause, we've sacrificed the pursuit of excellence for the convenience of mediocrity. Districts have discovered that they can't efficiently control teacher quality, so they've resorted to teacher proofing education instead.

Create a curriculum and a system that makes it easy for anyone to teach. Take away difference. Remove individuality. Sanction homogeny, reward submission, punish creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.

Yet our students are different. Our teachers are individuals. We are not the same. Our needs are not the same. Our styles differ. The defense is that if we homogenize curriculum, we homogenize student outcomes. Is that even possible when we can't homogenize the students themselves?

How can you, as a teacher, called to this profession, reach and teach each one under these circumstances?