Over the course of two years, I, along with the Burlington Public Schools tech team, had the opportunity to meet and connect with over one hundred schools. These discussions would usually involve what device works best in the classroom and how the iPad is affecting teaching and learning outcomes. Frequently this conversation focuses on the most effective hardware for teaching and learning. While this is an important decision to make, it should not be the focus. In fact, the best devices a school can employ are great teachers.
While the examples are alright, I think this post also highlights the difficulty in capturing just how important and fluidly, dynamic a great teacher can truly be. It is almost ridiculous to me to try and quantify it, despite our nation’s keen interest in wanting to try.
What this post also raises for me even more interestingly is just how complicated the classroom is becoming for a lot of teachers. Consider a teacher faced with implementing the new Common Core Standards, gaining awareness of the new teacher evaluation scheme, and figuring out how to make the best use of a situation where ever student now has a computerized device in their hands.
A brief synopsis of these three factors, reveals the following:
- The Common Core is an unproven, top-down set of teaching standards that is gaining increasing resistance for a whole variety of reasons too complicated to list.
- The new teacher evaluation schemes popping up in states around the country can generally be summarized as more complicated, dubiously conceived, and seemingly being made up on the hoof.
- Teaching in a 1:1 computer device environment comes with an array of complications, usually mixed messages, and challenges that require deep thought and a guiding philosophical approach to be most successful.
Any one of these adjustments would be significant for anyone in a single year, All three seems a like a recipe in futility. Yet across the country this is precisely what will be occurring in the fall. Is it any wonder why some teachers are bristling and pushing back?