Joe Bower teaches in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. He blogs at http://www.joebower.org.
He wrote this for us:
DO I SERVE YOU OR ARE YOU TO SUPPORT ME?
As a classroom teacher, I spend the majority of my time working with students while they are still learning, so I have an intense understanding for how important it is for kids to be engaged in learning by doing projects that are in a context and for a purpose.
Without the information (read: observations) that I gather from such projects, I could not call myself a teacher, nor could my students call themselves learners.
But how often is data defined like this?
As a classroom teacher, I have absolutely no use for data that reduces learning to a number for the convenience of administrators, policy makers and others who wish to judge the classroom without ever stepping foot in the classroom.
I will not be an accomplice to those who have needs and have absolutely no intention of ever even meeting my students. A system with authentic accountability would never ask me to do so.
If you are a politician, superintendent, schoolboard trustee, administrator or someone else who rarely visits the classroom, you might be thinking to yourself: “I need spread-sheet friendly data to report the successes, failures and growth of the schools.”
To you I say: “As a classroom teacher, am I here to serve your needs for your spreadsheet, or are you here to support me so that I may better serve my students’ needs