Friday, February 17, 2012

Living Through High School Redesign

My school has been going through redesign for a few years now. It is starting to wear on me, I feel tired all the time. Sometimes I wish I could turn back a few years and just be a teacher. Then, I watch Sir Ken Robinson and I'm reminded that the redesign is good work and will have long term benefits and I wish that what we are doing at our school was how school would have been for me.

Sometimes I feel I'm ahead of the group and I get pulled back. It makes me question my own thinking at times. Then when I give up on an idea for change, when it seems I'm not listened to, someone else says the same thing a few years after me and we start running with it. I'm happy to support an idea I had a few years before but it is discouraging to feel it was the right idea back when I had it only to give up at the time others want to adopt it. The right idea, but too soon.

Redesign is going to happen all across this country. We've been blazing some untraveled trails, which makes the work harder, because there is nothing to build on yet. We share our ideas with others who have watched us progress and want to do what we have done. We've had to make many changes as we discovered what didn't work, sometimes in mid-year. Some days I wake up and wish it was just done so I can go on with the business of teaching in a well-established system, but it's a strange organized chaos.

We are shifting from grading in the traditional way to grading competencies. Behaviors are separated out of the grade to keep it pure, so it reflects the learning. That means being late with an assignment is a behavior issue and cannot be addressed in the academic grade. So much work has built up to this.

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