Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Little Secret

Fidelity - my least favorite educational buzz word these days.  It seriously makes me cringe, makes my skin crawl, makes me want to run and hide.  It's spoken as if God himself declared it into existence and then said, "It is good."  Yet, I don't do anything with fidelity.  Yes, I actually said that.  Gulp.

Recently I saw a list of qualities an administrator was looking for in his new hires.  Part-way down, it said, "Fidelity to...." and named a certain program.  Well, I wasn't looking for a new job, so the point was moot, but he wouldn't have wanted me anyway.  

Several years ago I was sitting in a meeting with various staff members from my district.  Considering my lack of memory, I'm lucky to even remember this event.  The reason it stuck with me is because I actually heard an administrator say,  "I want to walk into a teacher's classroom, hear her begin a sentence, walk into the next teacher's room and hear her finish it."  Huh?  Did you just say what I think you said?  

Regie Routman, one of my favorite literacy gurus, has a lot to say about fidelity.  The quote above is one of my favorites from her.  If good teaching means adapting and changing, then how is fidelity a good thing?  Why is it something that some administrators use as a measuring tool for quality teaching?  

I don't do anything in my classroom with fidelity, even when it comes to things I believe in.  For example, something non-scripted, meaningful, and authentic like Daily 5 does not look the same in my room as it does in the book.  I  know I'm not the only one who believes this strongly about fidelity, but most often I feel like I have to keep my infidelity a secret.  

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  1. Glad you've got my back Laur.

  2. You know I love your blog! I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award! Check out my blog to see what to do. :)

  3. Thanks Lori for thinking of me! I completely love what's going on at your blog too.

  4. First of all (and I have made this known to my present principal and the previous) I do NOT like programs! Methods are good, but I don't do programs. I have been in the "game" long enough to have confidence to say this to my boss and have been lucky enough too that they agree (or at least enough not to make me teach a program!) Keep doing what you are doing, from what I see it looks great! Send me your email and I will talk to you about your question that you left for me on my blog. :)

  5. Lori, I'm very fortunate too to work for a principal who allows me to do what I believe is best for kids. I know that's not always the case, even at other schools in my district. Boy, am I blessed. Sounds like you are too!

    My email is