I’ve tried this 3 times now. In the first post, I yelled at the Governor of our great state. (Too angry.) In the second post, I felt like I was defending myself. (Not necessary.) Third time is a charm…right?
It’s weighing on me, and I want to share the story. My story. Consider it my act of civil disobedience. (1.25% isn’t enough. Fund Our Schools. If you are a legislator hanging on to this number, let go.) Phew. Got that out of the way.
I’m leaving public education for now. I’ve taken a job at a Lutheran school teaching first grade. It wasn’t in our plans. At all. Someday I’m going to write about what I saw at this school that made me breathe again. The short story is that it looked just like I imagine school is supposed to look for my Tiny Students.
(Also, if we are jumping right in, if you know me, I’m finding the humor and joy in God’s plans these days.)
To my teacher friends: You are nothing short of brilliant. Brilliant. Say it to yourself, “I am brilliant.” Everyday kids come to you with their stories. You love them, and their stories. True love. The kind that sticks with you even when it’s hard. The kind you give because the kids are in front of you and they need that love. They needed it yesterday. The kind you give and receive even when it’s not deserved. Brilliant. I’m so honored to call you colleagues. I’m so humbled that you consider me a peer. I’m in awe of you. Everyday.
You know what is happening in our Great State. Read sooner. Read Faster. Watch the Trend line. Do it with Fidelity.
I believe in fidelity.
Fidelity to childhood. Fidelity to play. Fidelity to the wonder of Creation. Fidelity to learning language. Fidelity to brilliant teachers.
Fidelity to methodical observation. Clay’s work teaches us that we can observe children and assess children methodically. Teachers need assessment. But children and teachers have to remain at the center of the assessment piece. And that dear friends is where I believe we have gone awry as a State. I’m not sure what is at the center of our State Assessment, but I am sure it’s not children and educators.
Fidelity to the child is at the center of who I am as an educator. I know we could have a conversation about the positives and how we could innovate around these assessments. (I did try. The conflict was too great for me, it all came back to complying with requirements. And I couldn’t see the fidelity to children in that.) We could converse about how the trend lines are impacting instruction. (For the better? I’m not so sure.) We could converse about how critical 3rd grade is. (We can observe children in their very emerging behaviors and see what is going awry at the onset of instruction.) We could talk about how it’s not that intrusive time wise. (I can’t talk about that one yet. Come back in a year.)
This road we are going down as a state. I pray it doesn’t turn corners like it has in some other places. (See Florida, New York, etc.)
So, back to my teacher friends. These assessments. They don’t define you. Or your students.
In my fidelity to children, I promise to keep writing. Not just to you. To Legislators. Staff at the Department of Education. Governors. I’ll visit, call, talk, and share with anyone who will listen.
Until then my teacher friends. You are Brilliant. Yes you. Thank you for making me into the educator I am today.