Thursday, October 5, 2017

Voice, Choice and Relevancy.....For teachers too! #IMMOOC

Voice, choice, and relevancy are sweeping the nation right now! At the school I teach at we're making significant changes to our curriculum in order to give our students a voice, choices, and relevancy in their education.  Revising curriculum is a great way to pinpoint areas of strength and needed improvements at any school.

But with voice, choice, and relevancy on my brain I got to can we provide this for teachers? How can we provide voice, choices, and relevancy for teachers so that their work feels meaningful and exciting? We want that for our students but we really should begin with the teachers. Engaging them is the key to engaging students!
Some thoughts...

1. Frequent opportunities for departmental based deep discussions on content and pedagogy.  I can't remember the last I had relevant content based professional development.... perhaps 2009?? Most time in department meetings has been spent on "administrivia": timelines for evaluation, book rebinds and scheduling observations.  More time together to discuss how we teach history would provide great relevancy to my work as my fellow department members are the experts!

2. Whole faculty discussions on what is best for students - In my early days of teaching, I worked with a great group of veteran teachers who had been hired in the early days of union activism. Consequently, debate and advocacy were at the forefront of every faculty meeting.  After school, great debates ensued over block scheduling, student accountability, and administrative leadership ....and then everyone, including the leadership would go out for drinks in that evening. There is nothing wrong with vigorous, contentious's the stuff democracy is made of!

3. One mark of a great educational institution is how much academic freedom there is for teachers.  Do they have the choice of what to teach and how to teach it? Can teachers take risks? Try new things? Are they supported in these endeavors by their leaders? I have always had great academic freedom.  It's been a blessing to work in an environment where I could teach what and how I want to.  Every endeavor, successful or otherwise, has been supported by my administrators (and I've worked for many!).

So yes - engaging students is vital to our work in creating global citizens.  But the lifeline to our students is the teachers in front of them.


1 comment:

  1. Hi!
    I totally agree that as educators we don't do enough talking about learning and better teaching practice with our colleagues. So much of the rare time together with our teachers is spent on administrivia. Our Social Studies department is one of the rare places in our school where we work together to constantly tweak our practice, but we never seem to have enough time!