Obviously I haven’t posted in a while. I looked back over several drafts I started but never published. One on September 13 – was titled “Can’t Find My Groove” and discussed how I was struggling to get in the rhythm of the school year. Usually by the end of the first full week (at least early in the semester) – I am moving forward – but during the first full month of school, I felt I was simply spinning my wheels.
I kept reminding myself that change was a process. Plan. Do. Reflect. Adjust.
A colleague reminded me one afternoon that I was facing several changes this year – the new KCAS (Kentucky’s term for the Common Core), SBG (or at least my attempt at it), remediating students (no transitional courses for incoming 9th graders)…and if things are implemented correctly, it takes time, patience and reflection. I believe that is what I was missing – time to process all that was going on – time to internalize and truly reflect.
I’ve said this before – but I am a small steps kind of person. I need an end goal and steps to take to get me there. When I feel bombarded with a gazillion things – my brain tends to shut down.
A couple of weeks ago, another colleague shared the book Focus by Michael Schmoker with me – I began to read and once again, had to lay it aside in order to complete other tasks. However, in the small bit I completed – I have realized how quickly and easily it is to loose my focus. Without good, quality curriculum, rich-rigorous learning tasks and an effort to use content related literacy – nothing else matters until these are in place and successful.
As I attended KCTM this past weekend, over and over again, I heard other educators state how overwhelmed they felt. There are soooooo many new initatives “thrown” at us during PD, we don’t have time to focus and master just one. We are asked to implement formative assessments for our students…which means giving good quality feedback AND time to adjust their learning – yet as educators we are not given that same option! We are told to implement, implement, implement. Yet there is not time to receive good, quality feedback (if any is given at all) and allow for us to reflect on how to improve/make it better.
Mastery learning – is not teach, teach, teach, test and move on whether they “got it” or not…so why is it that to me it feels that “mastery teaching” has become just that?
So to bring focus for me-
1. Know who I am teaching – I feel that I’ve made some connections with my students this year ( most of them anyway)
3. Know what I’m teaching – the curriculum is my guide to where we are going!
5. Literacy – I must give them opportunities to read/communicate the content!
6. Reflect. Adjust. Make it better!