“We are implementing a new Math (or Science or Vocabulary or Grammar) Program.”
My most feared words in education.
Blink and there’s a new Program. A Computer Program. A Reading Program. This year in my district, it’s a Writing Program and a Phonics Program.
And they’re not just Programs that provide resources to teachers. Oh no. These are scripted, “full-proof”, one-size-fits-all Programs mandated to be taught day-by-day, page-by-page from the first day of school to the last.
The Programs, and the administrators who put them into place, don’t care if you are the most amazing writing teacher in the world. They do not care that you have written articles about effects of independent reading or presented at conferences about word study. Been to the National Writing Project? National Board Certified? Doesn’t matter. Trained at TCRWP? Nope. It. Doesn’t. Matter.
Day-by-day, page-by-page, every. single. teacher. Because this Program is amazing. More amazing than the last one was. Remember that one? Guaranteed to raise test scores? Uh-huh.
Dear Frantic School District With Low Test Scores,
Effective teaching and learning has nothing to do with Programs.
It has to do with knowledgeable, passionate teachers who teach their students what their students need to know.
It has to do with teachers knowing their content and constantly refining their craft to grow their students.
Improving student achievement is about doing what is best for students.
Programs don’t know what students need. Great teachers do. Give your teachers what they need to make a difference:
Training. Time. Tools. TRUST.
Or, go ahead and mandate that fantastic New Program.
Then watch the doors begin to close.
Because your best teachers, the ones who are going to grow your students, and really impact their confidence and success in school, those teachers won’t be teaching Programs. They will be teaching Students.
Passionate Teacher Who Teaches Students, Not Programs