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5 Things We Need to Stop Pretending

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I stumbled upon a couple of posts recently highlighting 5 things we need to stop pretending in education. Here’s my contribution (in no particular order).

We need to stop pretending…

1) That the way we talk about incoming students (new to a class or new to a school) has no impact on the way we treat them when they arrive. How we speak of people impacts what we believe about them more than most realize. If you’re not talking about how to welcome the next group in or how to help those students be successful, be wary of talking about them at all.

2) That compliant students are engaged in learning. I’m all for having students who are willing participants in class. Compliance can be a byproduct of engagement or willingness to fail or take on new challenges, but observing compliance doesn’t indicate with any degree of certainty that those good things are happening. We (yes, we, everyone responsible for what’s happening in the classroom) must look for more as we check to see that our students are challenged well during their learning.

3) That behavior doesn’t need to be taught and retaught. We know that brains forget academic content, and most likely, we’re doing things in our classrooms to reteach even basic information like test taking strategies. Don’t believe me? Walk down the halls at your school the day before major tests (state mandated or otherwise) and look at the reviews teachers are leading. We need to use those same practices (teaching with great models, repeated review with variation for novelty, etc.) as we teach our students to be responsible decision makers in life.

4) That you can do your job as an educator well without taking some time to recharge. You need to take some time for yourself. Maybe you don’t need as much time as others on your campus. Maybe work is a lot of fun for you. Maybe learning is part of your relaxation. I’m ok with those lines of logic. But everyone (even you) needs to take some time to recharge. This is especially true as the students get tired. It’s not noble to tough it out; it’s not even what is best for students. Take care of yourself so that the tank isn’t empty when students need you most.

5) That we have it figured out. Anyone who isn’t looking to keep learning needs a wake up call, especially educators. You don’t need to be a 24/7 connected educator with an active PLN and PLC who participates in a book study or blogs every night you aren’t hosting a Twitter chat in order to say that you’re continuing to learn. Find what you’re passionate about, use it to stretch yourself as an educator, and share both the struggles and successes with other learners around you (both students and peers).

If you disagree with me, let me know. I’m happy to talk about my perspective and learn from yours. Also, consider sharing your 5 things we need to stop pretending, and share back your ideas if you do!

 

 

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Aaron Hogan is a high school assistant principal in College Station, TX. Prior to serving in this position, he taught high school English. Throughout his teaching career, he enjoyed the rewards and challenges of teaching both struggling and high achieving students. As an assistant principal, he values asking great questions. In addition, Aaron especially enjoys talking through the intricacies of great classroom instruction, the benefits of social and emotional learning, and the value of teaching students to embrace risks in their learning.

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Guest Monday, 05 December 2016