Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Sayings: The Gatekeepers

(Click on the graphic to see other Saturday Sayings.  Last week's was one of my favorites.)

I'm a rule follower if there ever was one.  My speedometer doesn't know it can go over the speed limit.  When asked to read something for a class, I read every word.  When the doctor says, "Don't touch that bandage," I don't touch that bandage.  I could go on and on.  When it comes to my classroom though, I'm in a bit of a pickle.



I've been thoroughly spoiled during these 18 years of my teaching career.  My administration has allowed me to use my professional and moral knowledge and judgment.  I've been allowed professional autonomy, and I haven't been a follower.  I haven't been a rule follower.  Gulp!  

What would I do if my principal told me to dust off those teachers manuals?  What would I do if they wanted me to teach with fidelity?  (I have some opinions about fidelity.  Shocking I know!  Go here to read about them.)  What would I do if I were told to get out the basals? I honestly don't know what I would do.  The scenario pulls at my natural instinct to follow rules as well as my Christian principles of honoring authority.  Yet when it comes to my classroom and what I believe is best for kids, I just don't know how I could feel right about teaching in a way that didn't mesh with my pedagogy.  

I'm by no means advocating that teachers do anything that would jeopardize their job or relationship with administration.  I wholeheartedly believe in honoring those who have been placed over us.  What's the answer then?  Honestly, I hope to never be in a position to find out for myself.  When all is said and done though, I think I'll be sticking with Regie on this one.

"We need to be the gatekeepers for sane and sensible practices."  Regie Routman, Teaching Essentials 38


Before I leave you I've got great news!  Tammy from First Grade at Storybook Cafe is joining me for Saturday Sayings today.  Let's all go see what she's got to say.  I know it's going to be good!  (Let her know you were there if you don't mind.)








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24 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you on this one Tammy. I think this comes with professional knowledge and experience. I know you continue to grow and learn as a teacher both professionally (taking classes, going to workshops, professional reading) and through your experience in the classroom. You know what the research says about best practices. You have applied what you've learned in your classroom, not just followed a basal program. I do the same. I just do what I know is best for kids whether it's what my district wants me to do or not. If that is being a rebel...I guess I'm a rebel with a cause. LOL

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    1. Connie, like you, I believe in doing what's best for kids. I'm sure we'll continue to do that until we retire. :)

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  2. Tammy!
    I agree with you! Great teachers do not need that kind of control placed over them. Unfortunately, decisions are sometimes made to implement district-wide programs in an effort to bring instruction up to an acceptable level. This always hurts the great teachers. They lose their autonomy and creativity. We need better answers that that one!
    Great post as usual! Pray for me as I am looking for a new position. One door closed-another to be opened!

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    1. Sandi, I'm sorry to hear you're in need of a new position. I'm praying God will order your steps and lead you to something that will be better than you had expected.

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  3. I have been blessed to be at schools where I could have freedom to teach how I believed would be best for my students. I struggle though because the teachers I teach with are tied to the basals. They don't understand how to deviate from that but will complain about how much they hate it. It's so hard. But I'm happy I can have the freedom in my classroom. I love the saturday sayings.
    Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten

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    1. Kerri, I'm glad to hear you have freedom. It's hard to understand why anyone would choose to be handcuffed to the basal. Maybe at some point they'll join you are the dark side. :) (Thanks for letting me know that you love Saturday Sayings. That means a lot to me.)

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  4. I would be heartbroken if my admin told me I had to follow the basal or "program". I don't believe I have ever had to do that thankfully. I would probably find a way to sort of follow it, but still throw in my own and hope that the growth of my students would be something that they couldn't argue with. :)
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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    1. Lori, the proof is usually in the pudding. It's hard to argue about kids who are becoming readers and writers and mathematicians without programs. I'm sure that's what your administration sees.

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  5. Yep that's me an -unfollower and good news the best piece of advice from the common core workshop lady was when she told administrators there not to waste their money buying text books! Thanks for letting me link up.
    Tammy


    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe
    dtklinger@gmail.com

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    1. Tammy, I love that you're an unfollower too. This workshop lady sounds brilliant! :)

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  6. I too have been spoiled with a great administrator that allows me to make my own choices. It is always interesting to me to hear about teachers that are denied that autonomy. They are the ones with the kids every day- clearly they know better than an administrator who might have never set foot in their classroom about what would work best for that group. Each child is different and each classroom presents a different set of challenges. It is sad that you might be denied the right to reach kiddos by any means necessary.
    Julie
    Light A Fire in Third

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    1. Julie, it is sad, and aren't we blessed that we don't have to experience that kind of strict educational diet. Thanks for consistently dropping by.

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  7. I am one hundred percent behind the perspective of allowing teachers sane professional judgement in implementing the strategies/programs which are unique to his/her classroom. One size does not fit all. If the students in my class are engaging in the activities that I carefully plan and ARE learning the curriculum, then I am on the right track!

    Fawn

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    1. Fawn, it sounds like you are right on track indeed. Thank you for coming by and leaving some great thoughts!

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  8. Yay! I found another blogger in Idaho, where are you? I live in Rigby and work in Idaho Falls. I was beginning to think I was the only one.

    I agree. Teachers need autonomy. I was worked where we were told when to teach, how to teach and given a schedule. I was in trouble all the time because I tried it structure my lessons to the needs of the class not the needs of the curriculum . It was a nightmare.

    My blog is bubba lulu.blogspot.com. I am going to first grade next year. I've been doing other grades for a few years but am excited to get back to first..

    I'm onthe iPad and having problems with corrections. Was should be once.

    Jill

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    1. Jill, I'm in Kuna. I have a friend who interned in my class a few years ago. She's now teaching over in the Idaho Falls area. She has to teach from the book all day, every day. I feel so bad for her. I should send her your way. :)

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  9. Oh lord! If I had to follow a scripted program or teach from basals I think I'd have to change professions. We're very lucky in BC. We have TONS of autonomy. Obviously we have to follow the curriculum, but there's a lot of leeway within it. And we can teach all the core subjects with whatever method we feel works best for us!
    Thanks for another great post, Tammy!

    ❀Barbara❀
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

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    1. Barbara, thanks again for a great comment. It sounds like things are going well in BC. I'd probably have to change professions too if I got stuck with a scripted program or basal. I do not get along with such things. :)

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  10. Hi! I just found your blog. I am your newest follower. I would love to have you visit my blog.

    April
    Wolfelicious

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    1. Hi April. Thanks for coming by. I'm glad that you found me. I'd love to come visit you too.

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  11. Tammy, Thanks for listening to my sister and checking out my blog. I now am a follower on your blog. Hopefully, I will soon be able to share so much more!!

    Christa Sweetlifeofsecondgrade

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    1. Christa, you're very welcome. Thank you for coming by my blog as well.

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  12. I am so very blessed to work in a system that allows me to do what I feel is best for my kiddos. Even if it's chuck tons of the Envision math lessons (shhh...lol).

    Thanks for the follow! I'm following you now. :-) I'm doubly glad I found you because I found your friend Paige from your sidebar. Her journey is inspiring me as well.

    Happy summer!

    ✪Crystal✪
    Strive to Sparkle

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  13. Crystal, I'm so glad you found my friend Paige. She is very inspiring. Thanks for following me too of course!

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