Here we are in the last two days before school. Our first meeting done and now in collaborative teams struggling to make sense of all we need to do. We are learning to create a guaranteed curriculum for all students without short changing anyone. That is hard. But we know teaching is not for the faint of heart!
We want our students to be engaged and we want high expectations but what about that child who comes to school hungry? or tired? or comes after listening to his parents fight? or cry? or worry? or maybe the child struggles to make sense of what we are saying? Do we lower that standard? No as Todd Whitaker says in What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 things that matter most, "we must always work to engage the students. If the students are not focused, great teachers ask what they themselves can do differently" (p. 34). We can't just keep bumping along and doing what we always have been doing. When asked about trying centres for a subject, one teacher replied, "I don't think so. I have my way of doing things. I will try that first." When countered with, "These students can't manage with lots of worksheets. They need hands-on" the teacher stuck with the original plan because that is how it has been done. Hopefully, the obvious need for reflection will kick in once this teacher notices students are not engaged. AND these students will make it clear they are not engaged.