Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Sayings: Better Programs or Better Teachers?

(Click here to read previous Saturday Sayings.)


Where are the resources going?  Are they going into programs or into the people who are teaching?  What benefits our students more?  Better programs or better teachers?  I'm just overflowing with questions this morning, aren't I?  I imagine we've all seen a little bit of both throughout our careers and maybe more of one than the other.  From personal experience, I know that the learning in my classroom improves the most when my pedagogy changes, not when a program arrives at my doorstep all sweetly wrapped up like it's a gift I'll be forever grateful for.  

I have the perfect example. The mathematicians coming out of my room the past few years are so much more prepared for the world of numbers than they've ever been before.  I can't thank a math book for that.  I have the State of Idaho to thank, because someone in the upper echelons decided that our math teachers needed to be better math teachers, and that wasn't going to happen by handing them a new teacher's manual.  After many hours of classes and even more hours of collaborating with colleagues, I am that better math teacher.  The resources obviously went into the right place this time.  Nicely done Idaho.  Thanks for resisting the urge to buy me a math book.  (Don't tell, but it would have collected dust in my room anyway.)  

If you've been reading my Saturday Sayings for any length of time, you know that I can hardly resist the chance to show off thoughts by Regie Routman.  I want to grow up to be like her.

"Outstanding teachers analyze situations, know the research, rely on their heart and spirit as well as experience and professional knowledge, and make wise instructional decisions for their students.  Such teachers do not discard what they know when a new mandate or program comes along.  They find ways to ensure that their students are successful."  Regie Routman, Writing Essentials 274.

Amen.

Lastly, I was thrilled when Barb from Grade ONEderful asked if she could join me today.  Use the link below to check out her own Saturday Sayings, and let her know you dropped by.  I'll be heading over there soon!


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16 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you, Tammy! My district has always invested in programs, but in the last 3 years they have decided to invest in teachers. I've been reading professionally on my own since I started teaching. I am always learning and trying to do things better.
    Connie:)
    welcome to first grade room 5

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    1. Connie, I'm not surprised at all that you agree. :) I too read a lot. Many of the changes I've made in my classroom are due to my own professional development. I'm glad to hear that your district is starting to invest in their teachers. What a difference that makes.

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  2. What a great saying!! We need to invest in teachers <3 I don't think that they really think about it in that way!
    Happy Memorial Day :)
    Blessings,

    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class Blog

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    1. Jessica, I'm glad that you enjoyed that saying too. I think it's so much more cost effective to put our resources into teachers, since it's excellent teachers who make the most difference in the classroom. Happy Memorial Day to you as well, and of course, blessings right back at you!

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  3. Yes! So true. I think most kids will learn whatever program you follow, but it's the really great teachers that can truly help the strugglers. Like Connie, above, I read read read, too, in hopes of improving my teaching style:)

    Barbara
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

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    1. Barb, I read a lot as well. It's harder to do during the school year, but I try to read a handful of books during the summer.

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  4. You know I am right there with ya!! So, so true! Don't give me a program, teach me better ways to teach thinking, comprehending, inquiring, etc....
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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    1. Lori, yep I knew you'd agree! Programs don't typically make us better teachers.

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  5. What a breath of fresh air!

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    1. Hi Matea my friend. You know so well what programs accomplish and don't accomplish, but your kids are fortunate to have you. I have 100% confidence in you and in the fact that when sooner than later you're in a position where the resources are invested in you and not programs, you'll feel right at home.

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  6. Thanks so much for posting this :). I was wondering if you had an advice on how to expand my classroom library. What are some of your favorite grade level (Firsties) books?

    Miss J

    Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories

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    1. Miss J, thanks for coming by. Garage sales, thrift stores, ebay, half.com...those are a few ways I've used to expand my library. The kids won't know or care if theyr'e reading used books. Many of the books that send home with kids come from my scholastic book order too. There are certain authors that my kids love - Mo Willems, Joy Cowley, Mem Fox, Laura Neumeroff, and Todd Parr. It's kind of hard to narrow it down. There are so many good ones out there.

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  7. So So true!! And I want to join in Saturday sayings too!! What a great idea!
    Tammy2

    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe
    dtklinger@gmail.com

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    1. Tammy, I'd love for you to join me. Let's chat!

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