As educators, I think this is the question we need to be asking. All. The. Time.
I’m worried. I’m worried that our profession is moving towards the timesavers, the quick fixes, the lessons-in-a-box (or book). I’m worried that we are easily accepting what we are asked to do without questioning, without asking for evidence that it is best practice, without asking whether it is what’s best for our students, without asking “why” we are doing this. We are asked to follow scripts written by people who oftentimes aren’t even educators, to follow lessons written by well-meaning educators (but educators who have never met our children) without thinking them through, to put children in front of computers to assess their reading and math abilities (and, even worse, to deliver instruction) without asking why in the world we would rely on a computer instead of a trained professional educator to assess and teach our children.
We are busy. So. Very. Busy. Believe me, I get that. But we can’t stop questioning. We can’t stop thinking. We can’t stop “being brave enough to outgrow your own best teaching”, (as Lucy Calkins wrote). We can’t look for the quick fix, the timesaver, the intervention-in-a-box. We can’t stop believing that it is highly trained educators that can make the difference. Not for any children, but especially not for our most vulnerable children. Not for the kids that need us the most. These children need us to be thinkers. Questioners. Fighters. They need teachers who are willing to go the extra mile, who aren’t willing to give up, who realize that the fastest assessment or the quickest lesson plan or the packet on TPT may not be the best. Teachers who view every lesson idea and plan through the lens of the children who are in their class at this moment. Teachers who put children above curriculum, standards or objectives. Teachers who are advocates and not afraid to speak up. Teachers who are willing to put their heads together to figure out what is going on and how to best help these children. Teachers who will never give up. Teachers who realize that we cannot waste time with activities and tasks that are not authentic and meaningful. Teachers who keep learning and thinking and talking and digging deeper into curriculum, assessment and most of all, the children in their rooms right now.
Teachers who collaborate, think and constantly question their practices, and what they are asked to do – are the ones who can, and will make a difference.
Be brave, my teacher friends. Be brave. Ask why. And keep making a difference every day.