- Teaching in a Pandemic: Help Teachers, Help You - February 2, 2021
- The Importance of Feedback in Distance Learning - October 9, 2020
- What a Teacher Wants: One Teacher's View - March 25, 2018
- Artist is Not a Dirty Word - March 18, 2018
- The Death of Reflection in English/Language Arts Classrooms - March 9, 2018
- More Than A Teacher - March 4, 2018
- Real Teaching Resolutions - January 5, 2017
- 23 Times I have Questioned My Sanity While Teaching - September 7, 2016
- Part 3: Adventures in Real Word English/Language Arts - Let Them Be Great - August 23, 2016
- Part 2: Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: Making Them Care - August 4, 2016
Eight years ago, I walked into my first classroom armed with my English Education degree, an American Literature book, and the state Comprehensive Curriculum. The only experience I had was my student teaching, but I wasn’t worried thanks to a mentor teacher and my state comprehensive curriculum which I thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I had no idea what I was doing and I was handed a complete guide on what to do and how to do it. I was so thankful. I was mortified when I walked into the teachers’ lounge and heard everyone complaining about the new curriculum. I thought they were just being difficult and didn’t want to change. I ignored them.
The next few years, I found my teaching style. I used the state curriculum and modified it. I found out what worked and what didn’t. I changed a few things added some tricks and I was set. I had grown my data base of lessons and tests all set to state standards and I felt confident. Then enter Common Core.
My curriculum wasn’t good enough anymore. I had to teach new things, in new ways. I had to change and I thought about all those nights and summers I had spent changing and perfecting that state curriculum. Now it wasn’t good enough. There is a new curriculum now. I study it and adapt it. Some districts do not have all the material needed to implement it exactly, but we use what we have and make it work. Now I understand where those veteran teachers were coming from. Now I get it. And I am sorry I thought you were just being stubborn and refusing to change.
I see how much time and energy you spent into a curriculum or program that will just be replaced in five years or so. Teachers are frustrated because we need time to adjust and transition into the new curriculum. It is hard to invest in a program or curriculum that will be changed in five years. I do not understand why the education system does not give these new programs a chance. Why can’t we see a full cycle? Let us see how the kids benefit, keeping the same program or curriculum from kindergarten to twelfth grade? But that is another story, for another time.
This article is dedicated to all the teachers that I worked with all those years ago. The ones I judged to harshly and rolled my eyes at. The ones who have been in education over twenty years and have been though cycle after cycle only to find that the way they taught all those years ago is back in style. I am sorry that I didn’t accept your advice and didn’t observe your classroom because I thought you were too “old school.” Now I know if I would have gone in, I would have learned so much. I realize now that deep down teaching is the same, no matter what the new “fad” is. It is about putting the students first. I should have realized that only an amazing person would stay in education for over twenty years, riding out cycle after cycle, changing lesson plans and curriculum, all the while knowing this might be in vain. Thank you for staying.