Monday, 28 January 2013

Problem Solvers Not Complainers

As I sit at home nursing my sick self, in between sleeping I have read  my Twitter feed (since that is all my brain can take in in small chunks). I came across a series of tweets by Dr. Justin Tarte out of St. Louis, Missouri (the link is to his blog).His twitter handle is @justintarte.  He talked about the need to create a culture where staff become problem solvers rather than complainers.  He would be a great person to follow on twitter. 
Back to his thoughts. . .  once you get into the habit of complaining about your students, your parents, your colleagues or even your administrator, it becomes easier to do so.  Rather than looking for solutions, you begin to only see the problems.  Your included students only make you have to do "more work."  They just "don't get it" even though you taught it how you "always have."  Why don't your colleagues "understand your needs?"  Why does your administrator give you "the hardest students?"  And the best complaint ever: "this is the worst class I have ever had!"  Once you find yourself complaining and complaining, you either need a HUGE paradigm shift because you have been in attendance at the Pity Party for too many days or you need a NEW CAREER because you can't dig out of the pit of despair. 
Our students (exceptional in any way) deserve our best selves.  They deserve adults who will collaborate and problem solve to create an equitable learning situation for all.  

Recently, we talked, yet again, about common assessments.  Despite all of the research we have read, the discussions we have had, we are having trouble wrapping our heads around the fact the the COMMON ASSESSMENT needs to be common and related to a specific essential learning outcome.  It can't be easier or less because you think your kids "can't do it."  You have already said this element was essential. Why is it less essential for one group of kids?  It isn't.  If your kids still don't meet proficient in this outcome, you have some problem solving to do as colleagues on a team. Something has to change: how you taught it is the most likely change that needs to be made.  WE are smart people.  Why can't we solve this problem?  I look forward to seeing the common assessments that will be completed this week and then what we will do with them.  Will we complain about the missing skills of our students?  Will we complain about their parents lack of help?  OR will we look deep and find the solution to our problem in ourselves AS A TEAM? 

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