Monday, May 27, 2013

Get Off the Pot (repost)

Repost from At the Chalkface:  (with highlights by ShedLightNow)

Get Off the Pot

Something has been nagging in my brain for a while now. It was a comment left on one of my posts about being tired that said “Shit or get off the pot.” When the comment was posted, my mouse hovered over the “unapprove” button, but then I thought to myself  that the comment, while I may have found it rude, could perhaps lead to some discourse and understanding.
That comment didn’t. But yesterday, Tim Slekar posted Tim said what I had been thinking – this really isn’t an EITHER / OR discussion. This is BOTH/AND discussion.
So, for those of us who CHOOSE to stay in the classroom, I have this advice:
The reality is that for many of us, our incomes are the primary incomes for our families. That doesn’t mean, though, that we can sit back and say “Well, how nice for them, but I could never do anything like that.” Maybe we can’t quit – maybe our families need us to keep working in a system that is broken. Maybe we think that because we can’t do those things, we can’t do anything. NOT TRUE!
We CAN resist from within. We CAN start talking to our colleagues about the testing madness. We CAN refuse to spend our days subjecting our student to endless, mindless test-prep. We CAN refuse to send home packet upon packet of test prep material over a ‘break’. We CAN plan projects and lessons that aren’t scripted. We CAN have honest discussions with our administrators expressing our concerns about what our students are losing out on because of test obsession. We CAN find one other person who agrees and attend a rally, a meeting or stand together at a union or faculty meeting and speak the truth! We CAN refuse to let any data that the school collects define our students for us or for their parents. We CAN write letters to the editors of our local papers. We CAN meet with parents and discuss NOT test data, but what we know about their child and development. We CAN tell parents that it’s a great thing to opt their children out of high stakes testing. We CAN close our doors and let the little children PLAY! And, let’s face it, we CAN make any lesson or any activity ‘fit’ the CCSS if we have to. We’ve all done those “dog and pony show” for our observations, haven’t we? We CAN accept that if we are deemed “developing” instead of “effective” based on a ridiculous rubric, it’s not the end of the world. We CAN start talking about curriculum and textbook decisions with the power of what we know – what is developmentally appropriate for our students. We CAN say that we will NOT standardize our students or our teaching to meet anyone’s demands – especially the writers of the CCSS. We CAN demand that our state and national unions start supporting what’s good for our students and not what’s good for the corporate agenda.
Remember, every drop in the bucket fills it a bit more. You may be one drop compared to the CTU or the teachers in Seattle  those who have publicly quit, but you CAN be one drop that keeps filling the bucket of resistance!

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