I am almost 1/2 way through the 3rd marking period and I am not going to lie, I am exhausted. Now, I do have a full plate when it comes to everything else going on in my life, but I want to talk about just teaching for a moment. Despite the fact I just turned 35, I have no plans of slowing down anywhere.
Anyone who knows me, realizes I do not settle for average. It is one of the main reasons my principal and I get along so well. I work hard for my students and am trying to set an example for them all. In addition, I am a supporter of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and see endless Possibilities. Freedom to be creative with assessments, integration of technology, collaborative learning, more vigorous learning (Yes, I said vigorous, not rigorous!), and the idea students can do research projects are just a few reasons why I see the upside to the CCSS.
On the other hand, I hear and read the negativity about the Common Core weekly. Teachers don’t think it is clear enough, they feel the need to start over with lesson and unit plans, others feel the Core has unrealistic expectations for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade.
I hear everyone loud and clear and I am not trying to add to the complaining, but I am wondering if the Common Core is going to push some teachers over the edge. Currently I teach both 7th and 8th grade English and the CCSS is fully implemented. My lessons are not only driven by the Common Core, but I also do sample Smarter Balanced Assessment questions with each of my classes. I have very little time to do anything else. I am sure other teachers feel the same way.
With little time to breathe, I worry about a few things. First, I worry about the potential for quicker burn out amongst younger teachers who are entering the profession. Are the younger teachers going to feel the task of implementing a challenging curriculum too demanding? Will the CCSS overwhelm them to the point they seek other job opportunities? I guess time will tell.
In addition to new teacher burnout, I worry about teachers being too accepting of a canned curriculum program that teachers will purchase so they don’t have to do any work as far as creating thoughtful and inspiring lessons. It is a concern that is a reality, trust me. There are many textbook companies and publishing companies that are going to produce Common Core guides, lesson plans, how-to’s, and many other resources. Eventually, the market will be flooded with a plethora of information on how to reach our students through the CCSS.
In all honesty, it is going to take hard work and determination to elevate our students to the level they need to be. It is going to take collaborative meetings between elementary, middle and high school teachers to sort out the finer detail. We will be forced to rethink what we are doing in our own classrooms and reevaluate what can stay and what has to go. It is not going to be easy and thus far, for me, it hasn’t. However, I will continue to push forward and do what it takes to be successful with my students. Even if it means I take a thermos of coffee into work everyday to stay awake.