Over the next month, this blog will feature excerpts and guest posts surrounding my latest book, Leading Connected Classrooms- The Heart and Soul of Teaching and Learning. This book is designed for teachers, teacher leaders, and building leaders who are looking to bring excellence to the learning in their schools.
The complexity of the teaching profession has grown tremendously. Teachers are being asked to serve a multitude of roles for kids including nurse, social worker, and life mentor. Couple this with the rigors of new standards, regulations, and requirements and the growing pressures to meet a success defined almost solely by test scores in math and reading, and it is easy to see the squeeze on our classroom teachers. Many now wonder about the sustainability of the profession without a revisioning of how teaching and learning take place.
Even with this pressure building, learning has flourished in some of our schools. As many classrooms have lost their drive to engage students with the best practices of education, some have found a way to resist the external pressures and build beautiful spaces of learning for kids. In these pockets of excellence, teachers have shown courage to continue to bring deep learning to the students they serve.
These stories of classroom success are often buried behind classroom doors and schoolhouse walls because to be public about these stories as an educator can mean being punished by supervisors for stepping out of line and not focusing on the demands of state and federal leaders and legislators. Telling these stories also means the potential scrutiny of the other teachers who have shown little courage and don’t want to be exposed as mediocre. These are the teachers who are following the daily script, abandoning subjects like science, social studies, and the arts to focus on the testable subjects, and who are managing the classroom in a way that coerces students into learning. These teachers apply great pressure on schools and potential innovation as they don’t want to be seen as inferior by the dedicated teacher down the hall.