Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Do You Teach?

Most of us are in the “Summer Swing” now. I have already attended a couple of conferences this summer and there is a general buzz about ideas for a new school year. There also seems to be a general hum of trepidation as many educators are facing full implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). 

I’ve spoken to several administrators over the last six weeks who have asked me if I am ready for CCSS. I spent much time contemplating this question in lieu of the buzz traveling around the education community. When one examines the Common Core Standards, one needs to remember that they are just that, standards.

In a world that strives to standardize everything, there is one thing which can never be standardized, our students. These attempts to standardize everything in education brings to mind Camazotz in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and the failed attempts at standardizing an entire polulationIt fails to work because people cannot be standardized.

Students come to us with a richly layered, diverse background. They are each different and unique. As teachers, we must get to know our students: their quirks, humor, personalities, habits, likes, hopes, fears, dreams, triumphs, and challenges. Our focus must always remain on the students and how we can  help them continue their growth towards preparing them for lives beyond our classroom walls.

Yes, we have standards. In our lives, we have expectations, rules, and procedures that we must follow. However, in our classrooms, we need to remember that the standards represent the content that we deliver. It's up to us, as professionals, to decide HOW we teach...and that is determined by WHAT we truly teach....our students.

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