Rant - Smart Teachers in Stupid Schools.
I'm sitting in yet another meeting for staff development on the common core curriculum. This meeting is for Special Ed Teachers, the Special Ed supervisor for the district is talking about "hotspots" – "And one of the "hotspots" as you know, is that our students must tell us where they are academically and how they intend to move to the next level." I raised my eyebrows and made a face in her direction. "What?" she questioned, "We're all professionals here, and do you have something to add?" "Not really" I replied, "No, I insist, you obviously have something on your mind and we'd like to hear it." "Look" I stated firmly, "I don't know many adults who can tell you where they are academically and how they expect to get to the next level, no less children, no less special needs children! Now, the kids can tell you what they like to do and what they don't like to do, but to ask them to present their academic portfolio on the spot is simply not appropriate. The professionals in the classroom must discern and administer efficient methodologies to teach the kids and get them to the next levels; this should not be a concern of the students." We're seated in a big square table; the other teachers are all within my sight. As I look around seeking support, most remain mute not daring to question the status quo, only one strong dynamic teacher nods her head feverishly in agreement and asserts "Exactly!" "Well," maintains the supervisor, "This is what is coming down the pipe all our kids have to be 'proactive learners'." "Yes, well," I quipped, "it's simply not appropriate." "'Proactive learners'" I rolled my eyes thinking, "These people love to use phrases that have snappy ideals with little meaning in the classroom."
The conversation went on to other "hotspots" which made no reference to real scientifically based practices in the classroom, the pressures from above to conform to these requirements are thus thrust upon classroom teachers. Yet another meeting with lots of form and little function while newer teachers do not dare question authority for fear of reprisal and senior teachers object behind the backs of these supervisors - tired of ridiculous meetings promising lots of something delivering nothing. Thus the "Much Ado About Nothing" merry-go-round of pedagogy rolls on.