So…this week I have been a part of writing curriculum for my district. It has been fun. Yes, I am a nerd. However, more than fun it has been a challenge and quite enlightening.
We all come from different states (and possibly countries), and every area has their own set of standards and fight with or against new standards. I don’t know how it is where you are, but the state I am from is in constant flux.
One thing is clear: nothing is clear.
We are “for” things one minute. We are “against” things the next minute. We have a plan for testing in one breath. No clear plan in the next one.
I have been in education long enough to see that the only thing you can count on is change. The change can last a while or be quick, but you can always know that things will change sooner or later.
There will be buzz words. There will be “current” research. There will be best practices. There will be education trends and fads.
There will be change.
There will be unclear goals.
There will be a test at the end.
This is clearly the only clarity we get as teachers.
And that is okay. I think.
Yes. It is okay. I know it.
You know why I know it? Because there are teachers who teach well NO MATTER WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND THEM.
True. It is not every teacher. However, we all know at least one or two of them that are spectacular no matter what the trends and legislation going on. They are consistent. They are constant. They are uncanny.
They are the great teachers.
What makes them great?
They found the common thread of teaching before it got cored. They focus on what is always, not what is now. The set their eyes on one goal. Students. Students and what it takes to help them grow.
Will the latest research and methods help them do this? Of course. Are these teachers life-long educational learners? You bet. Do they keep up with new ideas and strategies? Most certainly. Do they change and move from one generation to the next that comes through their classroom? Yes, yes, and yes!
One thing remains the same throughout the change for them. The students.
This is how you keep your sanity. This is how you stay a great teacher. This is how you stay the course even when the waters are choppy. You keep your eyes on the point of teaching…students, growth, and creating learners.
Can you do this if your state is Common Core? Yes. Can you do this if your state rejects the common? Yes. Can you do this if the test changes every year? Yes. Can you do this no matter what? YES YOU CAN!
So what does focusing on students mean to you? How can you make this your goal despite the ebb and flow of current educational mandates in your area? What changes can you make to be more and more consistent in this focus?
You are awesome, and I know that you already have this focus! You will grow every year in make student growth your goal. Think more about this as the school year looms ever closer! Keep on teaching, Teacher, and keep on focusing on what is most important!
You can do it!