Start small.

Teachers have a lot to do.  And, in some schools, only 40-45 minutes a day per student to do it in.

Deconstruct all the required state standards into student-friendly targets, write formative and summative assessments that match those targets, get good, useful data, differentiate instruction, record learning, make sure grades are submitted at the appropriate times, manage the classroom, go to teacher collaboration time, get evaluated, provide artifacts as evidence that you are a good teacher, and get a certain percentage of students to grow in a specific area or skill, learn the newest educational technology and integrate it in the classroom, and stay current with best practices by going to workshops or developing your own personal learning network.  Oh, and get students to learn and learn how to work together.

And, with all of that, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something that teachers have to do these days.  Looking at that list, it’s no surprise that most teachers look at something new with more than a bit of skepticism and just a touch of resistance.  New standards?  New teaching techniques and strategies?  New ways of looking at the roles of teachers ad students in the classroom?  Talking about any of these can completely overwhelm teachers already trying to do it all.

My advice?  Start small.  Take your time.  It doesn’t have to all be done in a month, a semester, or even a year.  Trying just one thing in one unit or one lesson, learn from it, and build on it.  That’s how you grow in your practice and constantly get better – a little at a time.


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