Big Question #2: What Do You Believe?

I recently found myself with a few minutes of leisure and wandered over to my RSS feeds where I found that one of my favorite bloggers, Lee Kolbert, had been really busy since the last time I wandered over to RSS Land. One of the articles she’d written really hit a chord, so I’m taking up her challenge, writing my thoughts, and tagging a few people to get their opinions.

Lee’s post was inspired by a tag she’d received challenging her to state what she believes. Since the spirit of this blog is all about truths, I thought it would be appropriate to follow her lead, so here goes .  .  .

What I Believe

I believe that education needs a complete overhaul. I’m not talking a simple change in pay scales, additional training for teachers, or new support positions being created. I’m not talking about having tiers of teaching positions so that teachers can have more opportunities for leadership roles. I’m talking about the entire education community stopping EVERYTHING, pretending like we’ve never taught before, and coming up with a NEW PLAN.

I believe that students deserve to enjoy their education. I believe that teachers deserve to enjoy teaching.

I believe that standardized tests set students (and teachers who have high stakes in them) up to fail.

I believe that if I teach science the way I really want to teach science, instead of teaching to a standardized test, my students will learn and retain far more knowledge than if I “drill ’em and kill ’em.”

I believe it is more important for a student to get excited about a content area than for them to memorize information that can be easily found in a journal, dictionary, or manual.

I believe “assessment” can be a dirty word.

I believe educators who focus on the words rigor and relevance or scope and sequence instead of focusing on what they MEAN to a student have missed the boat.

I believe there is such a thing as too much technology in the classroom. Having students complete an assignment involving technology for the sake of technology is wasted time. Using technology as an integrated tool to expand a student’s knowledge is imperative.

I believe teachers should focus on what they know, intuitively, to be the “right” way to teach. Most of us become educators because we have an amount of natural talent in the area of imparting knowledge on others. If we let ourselves be herded into the cookie-cutter “ideal” that our principal or district thinks is the way to go, then we have eliminated our usefulness.

I believe teachers like STAR Discovery Educator, Diana Laufenberg, who instills in her students a true love of nature and thus, the science and history behind it, do more on one weekend field trip to impact their students’ success than many other teachers manage in a full school year.

I believe that it is okay to hug a student who needs to know someone cares.

Okay, I’m realizing that I could go on and on, so I’ll stop and let YOU comment here with what you believe – or post to your own blog and tag this one. I’m also going to think about who to tag, so be warned!



7 responses to “Big Question #2: What Do You Believe?

  1. Elaine
    Nicely done. I am the teacher who tagged Lee for this meme. It is so intriguing to read other’s philosophy. I agree with all of what you said.

  2. What a great post! Thanks for taking this another step farther! One question that drives home my point.

    You say, “I believe that if I teach science the way I really want to teach science, instead of teaching to a standardized test…”

    Do you believe that IF you were allowed to teach science the way you really want to teach science, then your students naturally will do well on the standardized test?

    I do and I can see that you do, too. And I wish more teachers would see things as clearly you.

    Thanks for the post. I believe this has made many of us dig deep into our teaching souls and bring out some words of wisdom. How appropriate for Teacher Appreciation week! ~Lee

  3. Yes, Lee, I do believe – firmly – that if I were able to teach my students the way I want to teach them, that they would naturally do better on standardized tests! We would no longer have to be so worried by the test and would think of it as a casual accounting of things already known.

    During the last few weeks of my teaching career, I finally taught the way I wanted to teach and my kids GOT IT! I could ask them anything I’d covered in the class before and they had it! If I had only done that from day one – where could they have been?

  4. I believe that reflection is the most important part of being a teacher. No lesson is perfect, no teacher is perfect … reflection allows us to take one step further each year.

    I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for your writings.

  5. hey, I buy most of that.

    I’ve been fortunate to be in a school the past 6 years that lets me teach away from the test, with my promise that we won’t have disasters as a result (which we haven’t).

    I like teaching methods, ideas, concepts, skills, and letting them settle into place independently for each student. (oh yeah, 9th grade math, algebra mostly).

    Exposure to advanced vocab – very good. Memorizing vocab. Um. no.

    Technology, as needed and as useful, not for the sake of technology itself.

    In NY we don’t hug kids, at least not in high school if we want to keep our jobs 🙂

    And I don’t know who that woman is (Laufenberg), but since so much of what you wrote makes sense, that’s probably on the money as well.


  6. Jonathan,
    I am happy to hear that you are able to teach away from the test and have had success. I’ve always believed that if we teach without worrying about the test, the natural result would be success on the test!

    Thank you for your comments.
    – Elaine

  7. Pingback: What I Believe About Students? « Cruel Shoes

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