Since I am participating in a couple of online community challenges this summer, I thought it would be neat to connect the 2 of them whenever possible. The #Kinderblog13 blogging challenge and the #clmooc on Google+/Twitter/Flickr are both looking for some reflections this week.
As a kindergarten teacher, I am increasingly asked to teach a strong academic program. I confess that I am at odds with this approach. The world of exploration and discovery will always be the place of ideal teaching and learning, at least in my mind and heart.
The movers and shakers who are directing education (CCSS and educator evaluation) are forcing teachers to move away from the more natural learning environments and instead pushing us to create and show very specific results every step of the way.
The focus is on demonstrating student learning through assessments. The more time I spend on assessing, recording, graphing, checking off, reporting student learning, the less time I have for creating more meaningful learning opportunities.
It boils down to time. Time that is in short supply. Time that ends up being taken away from other aspects of my personal and professional life.
Teachers are being drawn to $$ boxed curricula, at least in part, because they need the ready-made assessments to present the teaching and learning and therefore prove their own mastery of curriculum planning and assessment. That also means they teach the $$ boxed program to achieve those learning goals prescribed by the assessments. I am at odds with the strong academics being foisted on early childhood education.
That is my confession. My credo is always going to be challenged by the market-driven $$ powers that be. Let’s see if this year marks a change and I find a healthy balance between my own credo and the needs of the evaluators.