Opine I will

I am an elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Archive for the category “social studies”

An insult towards experience

Why is it that these so call “change agents” that pop up every year as administrators, consultants, book sellers, publishers, and wannabes lack skills needed to embrace the gains of the past?  They often seek change for that sake of showing that they can affect change. Often these so called self proclaimed change agents have no regard for those who often have much more experience than them. They pretend they know more because they went to a conference, read an article, or most often than not they feel they know a better way.

I happened to be in our district’s conference room this week and I saw this comment taped to the wall.

playing school

 

I immediately commented on it as an insult to all the teachers in the district with many years of  experience.  I was then told, “The conversation was about children “playing school”, not teachers.”

My response, “So. my students were “playing school” because I was not on the  cutting edge? Past instruction practices caused our students to play school?  Really?”

Don’t get me wrong, change can be good, very good. Provided that change builds on the past’s best practices and that it is supported by real research, not opinion. Cutting edge can cut both ways. We need speak up and defend our own  professional experiences when these change agents declare they have a better way. We have witnessed their failures too many times.

Let’s make sure there is water in that pool before we have our students jump in .

emptypool2

This is our Sputnik moment.

School’s all across the nation are either starting or about to start a new academic year. It’s suppose to be an exciting time for students and teacher. However, this year may be much, much different.  This has been the summer of Trump. Our students  have been subjected to Trumpism all summer.

Before this weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, I was wondering where did we go astray. How could our nation elect someone like Trump? After this weekend, I think I have the answer.

As a teacher, it’s hard for me to admit this. I view this past year as a failure of our education system. As educators we have not fought hard enough to protect our curriculum, our methods, our standards and our public schools.

All too often we  observe teachers dutifully, following directives that they don’t agree with. We observe teachers, following standards that are not research based and often inappropriate for the children they teach.

I have watched  Social Studies lessons being put aside for high stakes testing skills and subjects. I have observed Social Studies standards morph into ‘big ideas’ that often lack correlation with history. For example, teaching about the Articles of Confederation without taking the necessary time to teach the events that led up to them.

Social Studies is being put aside. Now we hear STEM is the new ‘ big idea’. Science Technology Engineering and Math is turning into this year’s new focus. We’ve already witnessed literature, take a back seat to non-fiction in Common Core.  Look at the results, look at society, and ask yourself, “ can we really afford to abandoned the humanities”?

We need to refocus our teaching towards Social Studies. Link your lessons towards teaching history. Not a whitewashed version, but real history. The history of the peoples of the world.

We now have a President that has no understanding of our nation’s past. We have thousands marching in the streets protesting things they do not understand.

This is our Sputnik moment. We need to emulate the counter protesters of this weekend by resisting any attempt to water down our curriculum. We need to stand against those that want us to teach a revisionists version of history.

Forget the damn high stakes tests. It’s time to roll up our collective sleeves and do what we need to do to save our nation. Resist and teach like our future depends on it, because it does.

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