Monday, October 19, 2015

The Ever Changing Standards Fight

Are you an educator or have an interest in education in Oklahoma? Are you on Twitter? Are you participating in the #oklaed Twitter chat? Here are the answers to the questions that I wish you answered: Yes, Yes, and Yes! Since participating in the #oklaed Twitter chat on Sunday nights at 8 pm CST, I have grown a Professional Learning Network of educators that are only seeking to do what is best for kids but to connect with other educators. Please join us, it is totally worth your time. This post inspiration comes straight from last night's Twitter chat over the newly minted Oklahome ELA and Math Standards.


Webster's likes to define a standard as "an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations" Another definition is "a level of quality or attainment." In education we talk about and hear about them all the time. ALL THE TIME. FOR THE LOVE THEY HAVE TAKEN OVER OUR LIVES. Broken record. If you are an educator in Oklahoma you know the fight. You know the battle. PASS Skills, Common Core, OAS...the list goes on and on. Teach these standards. These are the ones that you will need to use. Oh wait....never mind, use these. Yeah, those right there, teach those. Nope, sorry don't teach those teach these. HOLY COW. Please don't get me wrong, we need standards. Standards hold us accountable. Standards help us understand what students need to know and how we need to get them there. It is a blueprint. So as a music educator my standards are pretty murky. While there are national standards for Music Education, I have found in my own little world and in my own little classroom I need three. We call CPR in my classroom. 

CREATE music of high quality.
PERFORM music with excellence.
REFLECT on the work I am doing. 

Now yes I teach all of the musical terms and ideas that they need to know but these three things are the most important things that I want my students to know and understand. I want them to create, perform, and reflect. I want them to create amazing, beautiful, and exciting music. I want them to perform that music with excellence. I want them to reflect on how they are working and take ownership for the work and music they are creating. So simple but yet so powerful. 

Have we made things too complicated? I understand that my subject area is very different. I understand that what I do in my classroom doesn't translate over into others. But all I am asking is there a happy medium? A place were we can challenge students, prepare them for the future, and not completely overwhelm the teachers? I think we can, how do we get there? 

Just Love Them

I say this a lot, but this is a blog were the underlying message is about love and loving the world around us, but love your students. Love them. Know them. Try to understand them. Let them know that you love them. That you know them. That you try to understand them. How do we teach in a world obsessed with ever changing standards? We love. We do what is best for them on a daily basis. We seek to make ourselves better. We seek to become better teachers. We seek to have fun in our jobs. We see the best in every kid, even the ones that you got to search real hard to find. We just teach. We do what we love. We share it with others. We understand that standards are important, but developing young men and women of character is equally if even more important. We do what is best for kids every single day. Things that we are already doing! Just remember you have the chance to impact so many lives. To change the life of a child. Isn't that the best and most beautiful thing in the world? 

Educators you inspire me. Thank you for all that you do. For the love, you people are the best.  

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