Did you ever think to yourself, “Just what are those OTHER teachers doing?”
Yes you have. Be honest.
Say you’re a language arts or math teacher, two of the most scrutinized, analyzed, dissected, and “held accountable” of all the content areas–did you ever wonder how your students are ‘being supported’ in other classrooms, or are the other teachers basking in the glory and luxury of simply teaching their content areas, bohemian in freedom and reaching the teacher-movie trope levels of ‘student engagement?
Well, let’s flip that question around. What are you doing to support the other classes? In social studies, are you providing economics lessons and true costs for raising a family, or the war on the middle class, to support Family and Consumer Sciences? Are you introducing famous paintings throughout history with literary connections to support the arts? Did you explain the nature of health and how current Physical Education practices have changed with new knowledge?
An alternative may be to have one of those difficult conversations of what our students’ full day look like, otherwise it is my contention we will continue to lack progress. And I don’t just mean higher test scores–I mean fail in helping students be able to tackle their whole lives. We can’t do it all, nor should we. Instead of a language arts or math teacher asking the elective teacher how she is supporting their content area, perhaps they needs to flip that question to how they can support the elective. Narrowing the scope, and not providing authentic learning experiences stunts growth. We all need purpose, and practice, with our knowledge.
Often I’ve wished we could take the needle of the record –postpone big tests–just for one year. Just one. Just to get our bearings, see the big picture, and feel enlightened and inspired not only for our own content area, but make connections with other colleagues and collectively share our expertise in a meaningful way, not just some PD that glosses over these issues. Find out what others are doing, and showcase their talents.
I know I’m not the only one who thinks about this, but it sure would be great to hear from others, too.