Tuesday, November 5, 2013
When I transferred to the high school, I quit doing anything. I was burnt out. Tired of being the go to girl. A big part of not wanting to be involved was feeling like I was involved in a dog and pony show. No one really took what I thought seriously. I was just a teacher, after all.
Three years with my current principal has convinced me to throw my hat back in the ring. This year I volunteered to be on the 7-12 Academic Building Leadership Team (BLT). Tonight, my principal just made me smile and wish I had many more years to teach.
We've been talking about the classes we offer, whether they have to be leveled by grade or if we could open many of them up and let kids take them when they want. It was brought up that some areas need to be leveled. There are just some classes you need to take before others. We all agreed. Someone mentioned English might be one of those areas.
My principal knows me too well.
I must have been making a face.
"Speak up Mrs. Day." He knows that I hate speaking out in meetings, especially when I think my voice doesn't matter. I also don't really want to ruffle any feathers. But, I know that my voice matters to him. He really wants to know what I think. He really will make things happen if it's in the realm of possibility. He really listens.
Here's my thought. I don't think we need "English 9" and "English 10". I think we need to make sure they pass the standards at those grade levels. Students should be able to read and think and write. They should be able to comprehend complex text and offer their opinions. They should ask questions and know how and where to find answers. They should solve their own problems. We should offer classes that help them meet those ideals and then let them move on.
We don't need the labels (Someone smarter than me called this Standards Based Grading). When I write a lesson plan, create a unit (or a class), I think about what I want my students to be able to do when they leave my room.But I don't believe that the 10th grade class depends on what is learned in the 9th grade class. I believe we give students two years to meet standards.
What made me smile was the rather rebellious remark by my principal (and I'm paraphrasing here).
"I'd like to throw it all out. All the grade levels, classes, all of it. We need to say here's what you need to know. How about it we said,' You need some help in English? Show up with Mrs. Day in the morning. You need to know how to do something in Math. Meet at 1:00."
I love that my principal wants to rethink school as we know it because I believe that needs to happen.
What will that look like?
I don't know. He doesn't know either.
I'm not sure it will happen in my teaching life.
But I sure would like to see it.