08 October 2005

My Aching Head

I started geting some nasty headaches earlier this year. This seems to be one of those weekends where I'm under siege again. Between the pain and meds, I'm both nauseated and sleepy. I'm never sure where these things come from. I had wonderful day yesterday.

The teachers from my school who teach biology got together to talk about a variety of things. Everyone has some differences in how they approach the content, but teaching is not a "one size fits all" sort of proposition. I liked sitting back and watching the energy ebb and flow between people...how someone could start an idea and another take off and run with it. There were some things that we didn't get to that I felt were rather important. I would have liked to talk more about how we know whether or not a student can meet the standard. In my mind, that seems the most logical place to begin. If we don't know what the end point will be when we see it, how can we plan to get kids there? Just planning activities/lessons that we think are more standards-based isn't really any different from what we've done before. The conversation never led that way.

Was it my role to make sure that it did? I don't know. This group is motivated and I feel like my presence is pretty superfluous. That's a wonderful thing. I can think about spending more time with groups of teachers who aren't to that point yet. And I'm not interested in putting my foot down in this case---as if I have all the magical answers to getting kids to meet the standards. The teachers yesterday are all intelligent people who care about kids. I think it's good for me to trust that they can find the path that's best (and that they're comfortable with).

I have another group of teachers that I'm working with in another week or so. My impression is that they aren't quite as far along in their thinking as yesterday's bunch---but that they would like to be. It may be that they will need more from me.

My hope is that I can help most---if not all---secondary schools get started on this process of aligning standards with instruction. Once they're off and running, there are 13 elementary schools to help, some of which are calling for me now. But I feel like getting the Recommendations approval by the School Board (the meeting will be Wednesday), necessary materials to teachers, and instructional methods will allow me to fade away from secondary. They can take the ball and run with it. That's kind of a nice thought to keep me company as I duke it out with my headache today.

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