Where Do We Go from Here?

23 11 2010

Yesterday was the National Day of Blogging for Education Reform. So many passionate educators shared their values, beliefs, and ideas with the media, political figures, and citizens who care about the state of education in this country, and it was very clear that these real educators–not educational pundits–truly know where our system needs to go. But here’s the real challenge: Where do we go from here?

How do we begin to put our thoughts into acts? How do we change our beliefs into practice? There’s no easy (or single) answer for that. But, in the end, it will be educators’ actions that will truly drive the education reform our country so desperately needs.

Because in a system where so much seems to be out of our control, there’s one thing that remains within it: our classrooms.

How can we make our classrooms learning communities instead of test-prep centers where we and the students are equally demoralized? I’m sure the answers to this question will be as unique as each of the people reading this blog, but for me, here are my public commitments to my students:

1. I commit to knowing my students well. This means knowing the different ways they are all smart and meeting them where they are in an effort to help them see previously unimaginable possibilities.

2. I commit to respecting their input, even if sometimes it’s difficult to hear.

3. I commit to asking them to assess themselves.

4. I commit to engage them in my class by allowing them to discuss their thoughts and ideas frequently.

5. I commit to provide opportunities to use what they’ve learned in (multiple) authentic ways with authentic audiences.

6. I commit to give frequent and constructive feedback about their progress.

7. I commit to caring about their lives and realizing that sometimes those lives may take precedence over a reading assignment.

8. I commit to having equally high expectations for all my students, regardless of race, perceived ability, socioeconomic status, or previous success in school.

9. I commit to providing my students with a clear picture of where we’re going and why it’s important.

10. I commit to always do what’s best for my students according to educational research, not politicians, billionaires, or or CEOs/business owners/journalists-turned-education experts.

This is my pledge. Now it’s your turn.