To say teachers across the country are stressed and disheartened with the roll out and implementation of the Common Core might be the understatement of the year. Seeing the stress and anxiety firsthand as a building principal, I find myself asking, “Are we making this harder than it needs to be?” Have the Common Core Standards added more to already full plates for teachers or have they freed teachers of a curriculum that to date has been a mile wide, an inch thick, and overly prescribed? It is my belief teachers can now break free of the bonds of teacher-proof lessons and lock-step curricula. They should be feeling a new sense of freedom and a rejuvenation of their profession. Teaching can be fun again! Now, how do I convince my teachers?
At the heart of the Common Core Standards is the goal to develop students who are able to think critically and creatively. Metacognition, problem-based learning, 21st century skills– along with all of those things you wanted to focus on for years but felt like your hands were tied, are now not only possibilities, but will make the difference between kids who score well on the new assessments and those who don’t, and more importantly, those who will do well in life and those who will not. (Boy, was that a run on sentence, or what?)
In this age of instant information at your fingertips, hopefully the Common Core will help us all focus on developing the skills, behaviors and mindset that will enable our students to not only cope, but thrive in the uncertain future that lies ahead for them. It is my hope that as we gain greater comfort with the Common Core, will be able to focus on emotional intelligence, persistence, and resiliency as much as readin’, ritin’ and ‘ritmetic.
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