You don't know what you don't know.
But when you know better, do better.
Or at least that is what I believed.
The Notice and Note Facebook page is a collaborative, safe place. At least I thought so until yesterday. The post I’m referring to is gone, taken down by the poster: people began attacking her parenting skills. And that is not okay.
The question she posed was how to best talk to her daughter’s teacher about reading logs – long story short, she knew her daughter might have to deal with the consequence of a ‘zero’ if she didn’t turn in her reading log. The little girl loves to read but hates the chore of logs. When I spoke out and said maybe there is an alternative assignment, and reading logs are garbage, the backlash I received blew my eyebrows off my face. To paraphrase, I was a know it all and it was just my opinion.
Yes, I reminded the commentators who were hostile to me that they were on the Notice and Note site, and it wasn’t my opinion, it was the informed opinion of Kylene Beers and Bob Probst, too.
Here is the subtext: many teachers were scared. They hid behind “we don’t get to do what we like all the time, so suck it up, buttercup.” They said their principals “made” them do reading logs. They had no choice. It teaches responsibility, accountability, and all that. When I said all it does is teaches students to hate reading, I was told it didn’t.
I have that effect on people. It’s my fatal flaw. I write short sentences. To the point. And hold up those mirrors. Now, I could say if I was a published author or a male teacher, things may have gone better for me. Well, for them. Because I’m not the one who’s upset or harmed: it’s about our students. Our children. Growing readers and thinkers.
Just in time, a teacher that others respect, and don’t find nearly or at all antagonist, (unlike one certain teacher *cough* we all know and love *cough*) has a post on KQED promoting her book, Pernille Ripp:
“I will admit that not every kid leaves my classroom having fallen back in love with school. Sometimes that damage takes years to undo. But I mostly get them back on the path of loving learning. I take responsibility for my own actions as a teacher and realize the damage I can do. I go to school knowing that every day I can be the difference between a child embracing his or her own learning or tuning out. I accept that what I do today may make the difference a few years from now between staying in school or dropping out.”
I am hoping that some read her post and give themselves permission to be better teachers and push their practice.
And– yes, please read this too:
If you don’t take my word for it, that’s fine. Do your own research. Be your own critical thinker.
That’s the least you can do as an educator.