Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rigor


Yes, that’s the buzz word of the year. Rigor. The longer version is Cognitive Dissonance. All school work should be hard and uncomfortable. If they can do it without your help, if they can do it without you teaching the skill first, it’s too easy. More importantly: Rigor means that not a single child over Kindergarten may color at all, period, during the school day. If you want them to color, it has to be homework (where there are no crayons, let it be noted). Obviously, I’m not against children working hard. I’m also not against age-appropriate practices, and for first graders, coloring is an important skill. As they learn to stay within the lines, they learn to use crayons and thus are also learning to use pencils to write legibly. It’s a scaffolding of skills. It is also a Zen brain-dump time. That’s VERY important, especially for children…except at our school. Others are having Rigor dumped on them as well, but I don’t know how it’s manifesting itself. Did I mention that the district foolishly sent out a survey, asking our opinions? Well, rest assured that I shared mine. For example, one question asked how we could make our district better, or better able to reach its goals, or whatever. And so I set forth on my opinion — which a lot of others shared and expressed. How about the drastic notion of equal distribution of resources? Our school has been at the short end of the stick for all resources. Do they seriously believe that my students will be just as successful as those from resource-laden schools? And then they have the nerve to dump an incredible amount of money and resources into the school down the street — such as everyone having laptops. There are two computers in my classroom, and I had to fight for the second one. I only got it because my Promethean board was put in the wrong spot. The school year is 1/4 over, and we’re all exhausted. Morale keeps dropping. Our weekly PD is totally about the new math standards. The problem is that most of us won’t be using them until AT LEAST next year, and those using it this year are already taking a ton of workshops throughout the year on it. So of course, we’re not doing anything useful for this year. When they said at the end of this past week’s that we were doing this yet again (we’ve had 3 or 4 weeks of this, so far), I asked if they could put it at the end of the year. Otherwise, I’ll not only forget everything they said by next year, I’ll also have lost everything they’ve given me. Sigh.

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