in this day of testing, programmed/scripted teaching what we are missing is the passion. How do you consistently get students revved-up if you are not excited about what you are teaching? When you think back at your own school experience and recall your favorite teachers, do you think about the ones that used the scripted, or practically scripted, math and reading programs especially well? Or do you recall teachers that were passionate about teaching and learning and did their best to make you passionate about it too?
I miss more and more going into teachers classrooms and sharing about what we were doing in our classes and leaving with new ideas to try and tweak and mull over â€“ it fed my fervor both in what I heard that teacher share and in their excitement in what I was doing. When everyone is â€œdoingâ€ the math program that you must teach in-order and not skip any lessons because youâ€™ll break the spiraling aspect – which is the programs strength â€“ thereâ€™s not a lot to get passionate about. Not like when you are sharing students struggle with finding all the consecutive sums up to 25 and then noting the patterns that appear.
In my school district we now have a math program and a reading program that basically follow this scenario and they take-up the bulk of the day. I go into classrooms and teachers are prepping the lessons for the next day that arenâ€™t their lessons, they are the programs lessons. It is very difficult to incorporate technology, projects/problems into a school day that is taken up by so much pre-planned time.
Mark Ahlness ranted awhile back about edbloggers that arenâ€™t teachers and how frustrated he was with trying to get to all the newest apps and tools they were promoting in their blogs and presentations. I think (and Mark feel free to correct me on this) that his real frustration was with the fact that just getting his students to blog consistently â€“ just that â€“ was frustratingly difficult under the constraints of time a classroom teacher is subjected to. Then it is easy (although no one really says this) to imply that Iâ€™m supposed to be Skypeing, Flickring, podcasting, and whatever great new free app some blogger just found that you just have to use with your students and by the way see you at the _________ convention next week!
This lack of passion means teachers are having fewer discussions about teaching and learning – and the programs so many of us have to follow leave zero time and resources to promote the kind of teaching we would like to be doing so sharing the new teaching tools becomes irrelevant to all but the few.
Letâ€™s hope this programmed teaching begins to wane (I see some cracks â€“ do you?) so that the passion can return and that might lead to an embracing of 21st century tools and a renewed dialog about what teaching is and could be.
Learning is messy!