Friday, March 29, 2019

Side talk, disagreements, and criticism

Yesterday I arrived home frustrated. It was a busy day, and a day when I had not anticipated a few scheduling matters that confounded the teaching/learning plans. Then later in the day some side talk, disagreement, and criticism seemed to seep into my veins, and I came home frustrated.

As with all frustrating days, I dissect the events to try to figure out how to make it better next time.

First of all, it's clear we've been trying to fit lengthy math tests into too short periods without adequate student accommodations. This is no one's fault, but instead a factor of not taking seriously the amount of time these tests take students to complete, and scheduling for this. In the future, we need to make a schedule that gives us the two-hour blocks that allow students to take these tests with ease, comfort, and appropriate supports. This will lessen the stress as well as the side talk, disagreement, and criticism that comes with it.

Next we need to talk openly and honestly about disagreement rather than make it fodder for side talk and quiet critique. We won't always agree about the way we teach or support students, and it's important to discuss disagreements openly and with respect. That creates better team and better service to students.

I'm always struck with that "Why didn't I know this before" feeling when I learn something new especially something as simple as the need to schedule more time for tests that take that much time--that's the humble pie that's a staple for good teachers everywhere. We're always learning new ways to teach and learn better, and sometimes that learning is humbling. Yet if we embrace the new learning, we serve our students and work with our colleagues better. Onward.