More Than a Culture of Teaching to a Test!

While I joked about inservices yesterday, I can honestly say that I really believe that our district has kicked things up a notch in creating a theme for our convocation that was meaningful and important for the future and then the inservice my group had was more challenging, and also called upon the talents of our members. This really was a good first day of the school year!

So what was the theme our district laid out today? It is a reminder that we are to teach the whole child. (Principles of this concept to come out in days to come.) I have had friends who are acquainted with education from different areas snipe about how I am “teaching to the test.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard that and I responded with, “Yes, I know that many places get that reputation, but we focus on kids in our district.” They didn’t believe me. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear our superintendent, Dr. Scott Elliff, say, “We need to develop more than a culture of teaching to a test.” He said that in the context of the idea of teaching the whole child.

I won’t say I nearly cried then, but I will say I was gratified. When people ask me what I teach my favorite answers range from “kids” to “6th graders.” I believe that I use my curriculum (technology) to develop students. Technology is changing so much that any skills I teach them will be outmoded while they are in high school, if not before. Therefore, I recognize that I have to teach the kids to use their natural inquisitiveness to learn how to learn. Some of the concepts they will learn in my class will stay the same even though the methods of achieving those goals will change. They need to learn how to find out those methods or processes on their own as things change. Those skills will put them far ahead of others in the years to come.

I also want to teach these kids how to believe in themselves. I want to remind them that they are the next generation’s leaders, business owners, doctors or …. They have to believe in themselves to be able to achieve. Now, I teach them that part by reminding them how much they accomplish when they do things. Not everybody gets a medal, so to speak, but everybody can learn and can accomplish and then build on those accomplishments. That is how to build healthy self-esteem. That is how to transform kids who are down on themselves into kids who respect themselves. A friend shared this quote with me and I will share it with you: “Every child deserves a teacher who believes in him or her. Be that teacher!” May I be that teacher this year and all others.

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