Friday, July 29, 2011

SMOKE Detectors to the Rescue

Scripted reading programs, grade level meetings, data meetings, CIP boxes, mandatory standardized test practice, required no-choice professional development...OH MY! As teachers, we know that this list could go on and on of the things we have to do that has very little to do with our day to day teaching. Unfortunately these things also have little to do with improving our learners. Now some of these things do have a place...collecting data (as long as it reliable and relevant) is what helps us find individual weaknesses in our students and chart their growth.

However, as teachers it is very tempting to give our students something to do at their seats so that we can complete the mountain of tasks and paperwork that comes with our teaching responsibilities. We must NOT give in to this temptation.It is our responsibility to fight against SMOKE...


We need to become SMOKE Detectors. We all have those things that tend to creep into our classroom time. We have last minute deadlines we have to meet. We have yet another form that we have to fill out. We have practices enforced that squeeze creativity out of the classroom. These things are different for all of us. What we have in common is that we can protect the integrity of the learning time for our students. We can see that something has the potential to eat up their time to work together, your time to meet in small groups, or time when all of us need collaborative learning.

As the teacher it is our responsibility to detect it, stand in that gap, fight back the SMOKE, and give our students the best possible education possible within the confines of a (sometimes) restrictive system. So who will join me in becoming SMOKE Detectors? Our kids are depending on us!

(Anyone else feel like donning a superhero cape? Superheroes created on HeroMachine)

1 comment:

  1. Well stated. For years I have marveled at people talk about the importance of analyzing data, yet all they were doing was collecting data and organizing data and then stopping there. (The real pity is that the data was could probably have been organized for them electronically if they knew how to do it.) The real tragedy is that after spending so much time collecting and organizing, they had no time left to actually examine the data and extract the meaning that could in turn drive instruction.