Now that I am mostly on the outside of a classroom looking in, I am observing all kinds of things I didn't in the past.
A teacher shared his amazing revelation this week. "If I don't teach to the standards and just teach whatever I want, it's really unfair to the students." I smiled. He finally got it. Our classroom work is supposed to be student focused---because all of these expectations (and penalties) are on their backs. We have our high school diplomas. What will we do to help them get theirs? Please understand that this teacher is not a bad teacher nor someone who doesn't care about kids. He has always put forth his best effort. It's just that he didn't make the connection with other aspects of the current educational world until now.
I visited our Alternative High School today and chatted with its new principal. He is a fabulous person to work with and I am glad that I will still be able to see him from time to time in my new role Here, too, epiphanies are starting. Graduation requirements being what they will in two more years, it's not enough for a kid to attend this school and just recover credits. They have to meet the same standards as every other graduate, although they may do it along a different path. His teachers are realizing that the packet they've been handing kids to represent "biology" for the last eighteen years might not match up with the standards. Do you think we can still be standards-based even though we don't have the typical way of instruction?
And me? I'm having them, too. Small ones for now...which is better than nothing. I'm finally learning to take these state issued documents and translate them for classroom use. I can see how to use a standard from start to finish. I'm learning how to be a better listener and use the information to help people network and collaborate. My Sweetie has the most amazing "people skills." I can't imagine I'll ever be as good as he in working with those who make you crazy while keeping a smile on your face. But I am figuring out how to "pick my moments" to ask for things and offer suggestions.
I'm sure that there will be a host of other "A-ha!'s" this year...some mine, and some belonging to others. I'm hoping that we can pool all of these together into something wonderful for students. They should have epiphanies, too.