The longer we’re in this business, the more changes we see. Some of these changes are unsolicited, while others are necessary if we are to stay current with educating today’s learners. We are constantly inundated with new ideas, initiatives and mandates being thrown at us from the federal level, the state level, and others. All, in an effort to find the magic bullet to improve academic instruction and meet accountability standards.
A critical area that I am dedicated to seeing improve is the method by which we provide instruction. Before entering administration I was a veteran teacher who vowed never to forget the environment shared by teacher and student. Perhaps that’s why the shift in lesson design and instruction is so important and necessary. More than ever we have the opportunity to take the best of our current practices and add innovation, rich content, the digital environment, creativity, and student voice and choice to the mix. And, the method by which we start this shift in instruction starts with our district leadership supporting teachers and principals, and making it a priority to provide the resources and training necessary for change to occur.
With all of the resources and tools available, classroom instruction can absolutely be the most powerful it’s ever been. We have the opportunity to engage students like never before with technology integration, student-driven, teacher facilitated lessons, high-level questioning and critical thinking, and creating project-based lessons that empower students to be curious and accountable for their own learning.
In today’s world of high-stakes testing we are often overwhelmed by all of the demands for students to perform well so accountability ratings will be solid–after all, that’s what we’re known for. But we must look beyond the current system to a new system that strikes a balance between teaching rich curriculum & content, stretching students’ imagination & creativity, and helping them find their voice to be successful in the 21st Century. When we see these changes occur, we will see significant academic gains and achievement gaps close.
On a daily basis I get to observe many of our teachers reaching beyond their comfort zones to pursue instructional practices and create lessons that are designed to meet the needs of today’s learner. It isn’t an easy process, but it is extremely rewarding. We must continue to provide an education system that is relevant and challenging if we want our students to be college/career ready and prepared for the future.
The transformation in classroom instruction that is described here will not happen overnight, but with the appropriate training and professional development and a resolute attitude to push forward, the transformation you see in students will resonate far beyond their expectations, and yours.