On the Way to Work…Thoughts on Students Needs

Carpooling to work this morning teacher talk ensued.

It came down to this.  No matter how much we talk about what we’d like to be doing, it always comes down to this:  The needs of teachers and administrators-vs-what teacher’s feel students really need.

Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan via Compfight cc

We had been discussing that the most effective approach one colleague could pursue, to improve student learning, would be to slow everything down in her class and focus on building certain fundamental skills and passions.  “But what about the standards?”, she asked.  “I’m accountable for those at the end of the year.  If I slow down I won’t cover all the required standards.”  We’ve all heard this before.

Standards and accountability are generally teacher and administrator needs in my mind.

Every group of students is different and has different needs.  A teacher should be trusted to use professional  judgement and make decisions that benefits specific student learning needs.

Does the need to cover a host of standards over a certain period of time supersede  a specific group or individuals’ needs for a different pace or approach?

Unfortunately a lot of teachers, including myself, have learned the hard way what happens if one makes professional decisions about student learning that do not align with school learning structures.

You’ve gone rogue.  Admin has there eyes on you.  You ‘re no longer a team player.

And, to be fair if you are not adhering to your institutions approach, you’re not supporting the prescribed bigger picture, so essentially you aren’t a team player.

All this before 7AM this morning.

Thoughts?

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