Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Finished with the Status Quo

I am currently making my way through Starr Sackstein's Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School. I will likely do a blog when I am finished and will include my takeaways in more detail but one of her lines has inspired me to bring up some provocative conversation.

As are many of you, I am tired of the argument "We have always done it this way." It may be true that there are some thing in our lives that can stay the same year after year and still be the most efficient way to do things but life changes, and often things need to change with it. Most of the stages of my life have come with pretty significant changes and I have also watched the world evolve - computers, internet, cell phones - and would be significantly behind in current knowledge if I had ignored those changes.

Of course, I have also watched the world fail to evolve (lack of change in carbon footprint despite the research and negative effects we are experiencing; decades long wars (in so many cases started by some misunderstanding and a failure to learn from history) that are sometimes ignored by the rest of the world; etc.

I can no longer watch education become something that does not change.

On page 28 Sackstein had me out loud proclaiming "Yes! This is the articulation I have been looking for!" when she said:
In the industrial era, schools were intended to train good workers, so students went to schools that prepared them to enter the work force. This model of education valued obedience, conformity, and rote learning.
We are no longer in the industrial evolution.

Of course, I will not pretend to believe that we do not need workers who can conform and follow specific steps to complete a task, but the majority of work that we need to prepare students for requires people who can be creative, who can think for themselves, and who can solve problems. This is the world I want to prepare my students for - I want them to find success in whatever passion or skill they find for themselves through the use of transferable, valuable skills (not rote learning they can look up on YouTube).

Hopefully my journey can help to bring along more teachers, students, parents, admin, and community members who want to see a change.


  1. Do it, Heather! I'm done, as well. Going the route of only feedback this year instead of grades is my big shift this year. My journey is here:

    I'm done just accepting things that are not right for our kids. I heard Matt Miller speak yesterday - he said changing education is like trying to re-route a barge. HOWEVER - we can change our own classrooms, because we are jet skis! ;) (Then my principal supported me by calling me a jet ski, which I think totally fits with my name...) It's time. Do it. You've got support from your PLN, and when you take the time to explain reasons why to your administration and team, you'll have their support as well. Enjoy the journey!

    1. Thank you, Joy.
      I am looking forward to continuing to change my classroom. It definitely is the one thing we can control!