Thursday, August 28, 2008

Now What?

When surfing the web, I come across some sites that are just too interesting not too pass along. One of them is garfield minus garfield. What this site does is to take away all the other characters from the Garfield cartoon strip, except Jon Arbuckle. It makes for some interesting strips. Like this one:

How many times have I taught a lesson that I thought had gone so well, only to meet that exact reaction from one or more of my students? It scares me. No matter how well prepared I am, no matter how stellar a job I do, there will always be some kids who just don’t get it.

I think that is something that is overlooked in assessing how students learn: the connection with the teacher and the connection with the subject. Both are important, but the teacher/student connection is the most important. More times than I can count I have gotten a student another teacher despaired of that worked just fine for me. And, vice versa. Some students who would not put forth the slightest effort for me moved to another teacher and did exemplary work.

While this is frustrating, it is also a reason not to expect all teachers to teach the same way. The scripted programs that have proliferated since NCLB was passed into law are insultingly called “teacher-proof.” While they may show some short term gains in standardized test scores, that is what they are designed to do—teach students to take standardized tests. And if one student is not doing well with one teacher and moves to another doing the same scripted material, will he or she be any better off?

Teachers need to reclaim our individualism. I don’t teach all children equally well. That happens. I still try. But sometimes it just won’t click. As long as there are other teachers out there, teaching in their own individual ways, there is a chance that student will be able to learn from them.

If we go the cookie-cutter approach, well, kids ain’t cookie dough

1 comment:

Lee Higginbotham said...

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