Public School Teachers

Challenges Beyond the Norm

My teaching career started in the public school system in 1963, and more than half my career has been in the public sector. Believe me, things are not the same now as when I first started. Some problems remain the same, but others have taken on a whole new meaning.

Don’t fear the common core!

applecoreFace it! The Common Core Standards are here… or arriving soon at a school near you. Interestingly, many aspects of the common core are reemergence of techniques and strategies common before the advent of Scantrons with the resulting abundance of easily graded multiple choice questions.

Reading substantive information, analyzing issues in depth and even participating in inquiry based problems were common forty years ago. For whatever reasons, things changed and we became “standards based” and multiple choice testing focused. Creative teaching gave way to following the standards and deviating from what everyone else was doing was frowned upon.

So will adopting the common core solve the problems of education?

Certainly not! The pessimist in me (or is it the realist?) thinks that they, the ubiquitous hierarchy, will find a way to formalize and standardize the common core concept into a time-consuming, report-driven system that may drive more than a few teachers closer to the brink of burnout. Other than that, I have no strong opinions.

My optimistic side, however, sees an opportunity for the more adventuresome teachers to bring a breath of fresh air into the stagnant educational climate.

So as we get ready for significant changes, challenge yourself to be innovative, be daring, be creative. And be patient.

As our economy fluctuates, the ability to survive your layoff could be an important skill set.

One component of being alive that never changes, however, is the continuing question, “Is there meaning to life?”

Good things might actually happen and education can become relevant again.
Classroom tips include some “tried and true” ideas, but also include some concepts necessary for survival in today’s arena of teaching. Even communication skills have changed radically as technology has become integrated into the fabric of our profession. There are other school problems that exist today that could not even have been imagined in the 1960’s and 1970’s.


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