Yesterday I was asked how I keep speaking out and standing up for the practices that I feel so strongly about. How I continue to work for what I think is right while there are other voices yelling we as a profession need to step backwards. How I speak against the quick fixes and programs that I know are not going to serve my students in the long run and really how I deal with those who do not support me.
The answer is simple.
It is just too important not to.
The world is changing faster than education can keep up with it and yet we are still, in some groups, pushing the ways of worksheets and computer programs that promise big results but only deliver dissatisfied kids who start to resent school or at the very least don’t see the value or point in doing the work.
When I am asked why I keep doing what I do I think about this awesome Notice and Note connection to a piece on child labour.
The student, as we discussed a question a peer brought up about how a small, skinny child could be perfect for any type of job that required such hard work, responded with his comparison to guardians of the galaxy. This type of thinking is fantastic, fun and engaging. It is current to what the students are talking about and the conversation brought about more ideas and thoughts from the class. I am not getting this from worksheets, there is not going to be a choice d on a stupid AR test that has to do with being good for thieving. How is this not valued over the easy? How is this conversation and conversations like it not the ideal we are in search of over compliance to responding a certain way?
My second reminder of why I do what I do came as my students asked to listen to music and I joked I would turn on my podcast. I laughed when they said we should listen to it and told them no kid needs to hear episode after episode of their teacher ranting about AR. One student asked why I dislike AR so much and a very quiet student shouted out, “Because it is stupid!” I was at first surprised, then I told her to write it down.
If this is not enough… What is?
I received a wonderful thank you from a parent the other day for just helping their child see they were a person not a level. This is why the work is so important. This is why I keep working to find ways to engage my students in work that is worthy of them.
We need to keep speaking up for our students, working to improve our practice and their experience because the alternative is they are not prepared for what is to come.