Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oh, For The Love

When I decided I was going to be a teacher, it was when I was a little girl living in Colombia, South America teaching my dolls and stuffed animals because of my love of singing. It was pressed on my heart through the love of my parents both teachers and the love of my first grade teacher, Miss King to understand my place in this great big world.


krop.com
When I started teaching in 1994, it was for the love of teaching. As I have continued teaching, it has transitioned into, for the love of deep meaningful learning. As I move into a new phase of teaching, seeking to work outside the classroom as well, as an education advocate and as a presenter on Multiple Intelligences and brain based learning,  it is for the love of positive change.


For the love. We do things for the love and love is something we have in ourselves and we give it away. No one steals it from us.

I teach for the love.

Which is direct contrast to what is happening outside my realm of power with the ongoing and steamrolling power that multi-billion dollar companies are "investing" in children. That is also for the love, but it is for the love of money. They are making big, big money off of children. 


Earnings of the top three: 2013

Pearson:

I went to pearson.com  and there I learned that in the year 2013, total adjusted operating profit was 736 million GBP so I used Google to show me what that looked like in USD. The answer:  $1,260,852,640.00 That is their adjusted operating profit.  (I just wanted to write the number out.)

CTB McGraw-Hill:

I Googled information and found at Media Data Base that their profit was 4,875 billion for 2013.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 
I looked all over and found this information from Digital Book World and there I learned that the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $325 million for 2013.


All three of these companies seemed to have looked at the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 as a open door to make a profit. (Alternet shares that Pearson actually owns the Connections Academy which is a online for profit charter school. Did you know that? I didn't.)


This all brings me to my point. My children are not nor are the students entrusted in my care validated through a test. I am fighting my own frustration as it hits the wall with educational agendas that seem to be all about for the love of testing and for the love of money, not for the love of learning.

There is a difference.

Yes, the test will show "growth" on some educational level of some kind. Yes, I am well trained on how to use testing data to help drive the children's learning. Yes, I can also explain the data to the parents without using edu-lingo. I can even read the results of a test upside down so that the families can read it right side up.

I will have to give tests that I don't like. I will have to give them many, many times this year taking away from class time upwards to 20 hours or more for the whole school year. However, I am resolved that testing is not the end all, and I will let the students know that, yes, they want to do their best, but the test is just a snapshot, not the whole picture. That's the problem with standardized testing. That is the problem with the culture of testing that we are living in. Oh, for the love of testing.

For me, it is and will always be about:  for the love of deep meaningful learning to bring about the greatest change and raise achievement scores because the students are learning in a way that is tailored to them. Deep, meaningful learning which no amount of data from any standardized test nor any curriculum can ever provide. 


Image: apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com/


I am getting ready to kick off this school year. This year I will be mostly in third grade and I have a wonderful co-teacher (our recent model for some classes for the past few years) and I really am excited for all the possibilities.

This is how I propose a culture of learning. It is using with deep intention a Revised Bloom's Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences matrix. (I found it here.)




The use of this matrix as this framework will help me as I continue to sow seeds of learning. If I do my absolute best to teach in a way so that all students can learn and as I seek to understand the uniqueness of each student entrusted to me, I will see growth. I will see true learning.

  • It is continuing to use passion time or as I call it Geniushour.
  • It is honoring each step that the student makes.
  • It is falling in love with the process of learning. 
  • It is making connections and understanding how the world fits together.
  • It is giving the students a voice in their own learning journey.
  • It is nurturing and growing learners through compassion (note my blog post here). 
Call to Action :

What do you do for the love?
How does that impact you in the classroom?
How do you balance out the zealous testing with meaningful learning?

Kimberly Hurd Horst, Education Professional 
Isanti, MN United States of America
www.seedsforlearning.blogspot.com
@khurdhorst