Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rogue teachers? What does that mean?

The Rogue Teacher's Approach To Education: The Ever Evolving Purpose Of It All

the case for standardized testing
I think I have been spending too much time looking at text books, "no excuse" lists, standardized test scores, and subdued students. I am starting to embrace the idea of becoming a Rogue Teacher. The status-quo has become irritating, monotonous, and worst of all - ineffective. Below are some of my most recent thoughts on education.

Slow Down: It's Not A Race
This comes from being in my current position as an 8th grade teacher. Lately there has been an increased push to get the students to a certain point so they are ready for what the high school deems they should be ready for. As a teacher I feel like I am losing the freedom to choose the pace that works the best for a particular group of students, especially those that need extra help. In the attempt to leave no child behind, most children are being left behind and ill prepared to work in the 21st century. We need to slow down and work to help students gain deep understanding so they really get an idea of what it is like to learn something completely.

Reflect-What is the point? So What?
Teachers have been pushed into the rat race of the world. The responsibilities bestowed upon a school and its employees are staggering. We are asked to be parents, teachers, counselors, nutritionists, dentists, doctors, statisticians, interventionists, and the list goes on and on. All of our students need to meet the same standard no matter what their background is, or where they come from, regardless of their parents' skills, and in spite of all the road blocks placed in their way. ENOUGH ALREADY!!! We need to stop and think about what is best for learners, If we stopped and pondered the "so what" of it all we would see that schools are flawed and antiquated as grossly as they are underfunded. The scariest part of it all is that research tells us what works, and testing all the students over and over again won't get the job done. We need to dig deeper.

Create Originality
I was recently reading "The Homework Myth" by  Alfie Kohn, and he recommended that if a teacher is going to give homework they should create it themselves. I started thinking that this should also be true of the rest of the instruction given to the students. If educators were given the time to plan with their colleagues I am certain that they could develop a unique curriculum that would best suit the student needs in their area. Better yet, with the students' input, this goal could most definitely be achieved. This type of teaching takes more time and effort, but is also great for learners. Students need experience as designers and creators if that is what we hope they will do in the future.

In The End
At the end of a student's formal educator what would indicate that it was a successful venture? I would hope that the following had been accomplished and each student was:
  • Caring and compassionate
  • A lifelong learner
  • A concerned citizen
  • Computer Literate
  • Curious
  • Skilled
  • Well rounded
  • Intrinsically motivated
Teachers are highly skilled professionals who should follow their instincts. My instincts tell me it is time to do some things differently. What do you think?


  1. Awesome. i've read some of Kohn's work and it is mostly solid gold. Also, great points about the antiquity of today's education model: It is a FACTORY model borne out of the industrial Revolution. Times have changed. Also like the point about enabling students to reach deep understanding and to slow down already so that they get it and fully learn it. Gonna have to share this post.

  2. i like his point of view. it makes sense, and more importantly, it serves the students.