I’m back from my wedding. It was great. One of my favorite moments — well, one of many — was when I got to sit on the porch with my friend T., who taught fourth grade for five years and has just transitioned into a pseudo-administrator position (he’s in charge of staff placements for elementary teachers in this very large school district).
We’ve never talked about teaching since I became a teacher.
It was great talking to him-as-teacher. I dig him-as-teacher. Two things struck with me, which made me realize that we shared a lot of the same values. He said:
“When you give a test and your students do badly, it’s your fault.” In blogs in the educational community, that seems to be an unstated undercurrent to many of the bloggers’s philosophies. There’s a lot to disagree with in a blanket statement like that (e.g. what if you aren’t given the tools, if your curriculum is impractical, etc.). But the sentiment — of accountability, of not immediately jumping to blame the students — is valuable.
“When I was interviewing,” T. said, “I was asked ‘what’s your two-week plan?’ in terms of what was going on in my classroom, and I laughed.” He laughed because he couldn’t fathom knowing what was going to be covered on Thursday if he hadn’t taught on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. He didn’t mean that he was unprepared or directionless; instead, that he doesn’t go off of rote lesson plans that are concerned with teaching material, instead of flexible lesson plans centered around student learning.
(I laughed at that point, because I was like: “T., you’d be so proud of me. I make each of my lesson plans the night before too! Who would have thought that anyone else would find that a virtue?!”)
We disagreed here and there (we had a variation of this conversation/debate).
But overall, it was nice to see my high school friend as a teacher friend.