I’m a bit sad as I write this for this is the last blog post for my class but I am grateful for the semester and all the learning.
As I read the list of articles this week I got a little angry and indignant and I remembered a conversation I had with my mother the other day. She just finished up her last week of student teaching yesterday and the fifth graders she was working with were doing MAPS testing sometime these past couple weeks. I did not realize this, but these kids take the MAPS four times a year. I took them one time a year when I was in middle school, 7th and 8th grade, so that was only twice in my entire life. It was awful doing it only twice and to imagine that these students have to take these ridiculous tests four times a school year probably until they are freshman in high school makes me extremely upset. I think something needs to change about testing and innovation needs to happen. No wonder students don’t want to go to school or find themselves not learning because all the focus is placed on these tests instead of worrying about students actual learning. Teachers get evaluated based on how well their students do on these tests so of course that is where their attention is going to be. Teachers don’t want to lose their jobs and they shouldn’t have to based on a computer generated test. A test is not going to tell anyone how students are really doing. The only standardized test I ever cared about was the ACT and even then I could have predicted my own scores so I wasn’t nervous. Students do not care about these tests, they care about learning. If teachers were given the chance to focus on their students and their students learning then I believe more students would be interested in school and learning.
“I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners”. With this empathetic approach, I will create and design learning experiences with that question as a starting point.” This is a quote from the blog post The Mindset of an Innovator. I truly believe we as educators need to think of our students first. Don’t think of the test, don’t think of the evals, don’t think of the parents, the principal, the other teachers, think of the student first. That’s why I want to be a teacher. I want my students to want to learn. I don’t want them to live life passively just getting through school because that is something you have to do. I want my students to be excited learners who look forward to going to school everyday. We cannot just give up on school and tell our students that is ok that we don’t have to go to school. You are going to need an education and a high school diploma no matter what anyone says. If anything think of it as an accomplishment. Your high school diploma shows the rest of the world that you finished school when others chose to quit. You toughed it out and learned when others just ceased to care. Maybe like me you slept through some classes, but you still passed and that is something to be proud of.
Teachers want to be there and they want their students to want to be there. That is something that doesn’t get expressed in enough in education or in classrooms. That is something we need to change. If we as teachers want to be there and we want our students to be there we need to let them know that. We need to let them know that we want them to learn and we want them to grow.
“We need to unlearn the premise that we know more than our kids, because in many cases, they can now be our teachers as well.” This comes from The Steep Unlearning Curve and it is something I think all teachers including myself struggle with. Teachers sometimes think they know it all because they are the teacher but “We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.” Teachers can learn from their students as well because learning doesn’t stop once we are out of school. Learning happens all the time, all around us and learning never stops. Learning does not have a specific age. Teachers can and should learn from their students. I still like to see myself as a giver of knowledge, but I should see my students the same way.
Education in America needs change. It needs to start in the classroom with teachers and students. Teachers need to innovate to show students that learning is more than just memorizing facts. Learning is a life long process and teachers are just giving students the tools to become great learners.