(written by Crissi Corbin, from newsletter)

When I first started teaching, just eight short years ago, teachers were given the ability to make and create their own curriculum. As a new teacher I was constantly seeking out new tools to help me educate my students. I had to be creative and make tools to use. Since then, the pendulum has swung the other way. We are now forced to use specific curriculum products. Now I feel my hands are tied much of the year with having to force my students who are below level to use materials that were well above them. It’s not the materials that are negative but the manner in which we are forced to use them.

I recently read a book titled Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith. In his first chapter he talks about Kohlberg’s Six Levels of Moral Development. He talks about how many classrooms are directed by the lowest level of moral development, which is doing it because you fear the wrath of authority. I feel that not only are classrooms being directed by fear but many school districts as well. District administrators are pushing for scores to be higher so that they are not taken over by the state or loosing much needed funding. Teachers are in a panic to make sure their students meet the standards.

For the first three quarters of the year my class was busily cramming for the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment). It has just been in the last month that I have broken from the curriculum restraints and decided to do what I feel is good teaching, such as having my students read a chapter book for a change, which has now turned many students back onto reading rather than away from reading. Because of this, I feel like I having an impact on my students for the first time this year.

To be good teachers, we must fight this fear of not measuring up. We must remember the real goal of our profession, that of reaching and engaging our students in a personal, immeasurable, way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *