A makeover is the rebranding of a human being.
I decided that I was going to be one of those elegant, put-together women. I had a department store makeover and purchased all the products. I had my colors done (I’m an Autumn) and bought some new clothes in my color palette (jewel tones). I went to my optometrist and got fitted for contact lenses. Finally, I bought new purses. I decided that every day I would carry a purse in a color that matched my clothes. I was thrilled with the results of my research and acquisitions. I was ready to step out into the world as an elegant, put-together woman.
I encountered challenges right away. Putting in the contact lenses was a major ordeal for me. Sometimes it took as long as 30 minutes. The optometrist promised it would get easier. (It never did.) That left significantly less time for the makeup: cleanser, facial scrub, moisturizer, primer, concealer, foundation, bronzer, blush, highlighter, eyebrows, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip liner, lipstick, and finally a spritz of setting spray to keep it all from rubbing off. Then I’d get dressed in my color-enhancing clothes. Finally, I’d select the purse that matched my clothes and run out the door—exhausted.
As you can imagine, I had a very difficult time with my new routine. My eyes were often red and teary because of the contact lenses. That made the mascara run. On one occasion, a child asked me how I had gotten the black eye. I often forgot to reapply the lipstick, or I’d remember but find that I had brought the wrong lipstick with me. I absolutely loved the purses, but they proved to be problematic. When changing to another purse, I’d forget my driver’s license, credit card, money, or door fob. Something was always being left in one of the other purses. When I got home, I had to go through all the purses to find the missing item(s).
The real me is not an elegant, put-together woman. Despite my desire and best efforts, I could not transform myself. I was fighting against my true nature. I see teachers doing this all the time with their students. They try to transform a chatty child into a quiet child. They want active children to sit still. They insist that “organizationally challenged” children follow a complicated system of color-coded folders and notebooks. They want highly distractible children to concentrate and pay attention for much longer periods of time than they are capable of.
While it is desirable to have students sit attentively, focused on the lesson, with their color-coded spiral notebooks arranged in their desks according to the order of the day’s agenda, some children just can’t comply with such detailed instructions. When we try to fight against their true nature, we succeed only in making them and ourselves miserable. Let your students be themselves!
As the grown-up in the room, the teacher is the one who needs to adjust and accommodate. Get one of those ball chairs for kids who can’t sit still. Harness the chatty kids into leading discussion groups. Pair up those organizationally challenged children with a buddy. Set attainable goals and work toward them. You probably won’t achieve Pygmalion results, but you’re sure to make some progress in helping children cope with their challenges.
This week we share how teachers and literacy leaders are rethinking standards. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Shari Frost has enjoyed a rich and varied professional life as an educator. She has served as a classroom teacher, a reading specialist, a professional developer, and an instructor at the university level. Currently, Shari works with literacy coaches, intervention specialists, classroom teachers, and children in classrooms to support the improvement of literacy instruction in Chicago Public Schools.
Christy Rush-Levine realized she had to help her students find a different “why” for their time in her classroom and school beyond test scores and standards dictates.
Shari Frost helps a teacher who has guided reading groups that have run amok, and discovers the real culprit is a lack of time for reading and writing in the literacy block.
Franki Sibberson explains why it’s time to get rid of some of the books we consider “classics” in elementary classrooms.
It’s tough these days for preservice teachers to get into classrooms to observe teachers and students in literacy workshops for required field experiences. Most schools will not allow visitors or interns during the pandemic, and many districts have moved to fully online instruction. Choice Literacy to the rescue! We are now offering a virtual field experience through the over 900 classroom videos from grades K-8 on the site, featuring top teachers from around the country. We’ve developed this $49 option as an alternative to a traditional fieldwork experience, and it includes a three-month Classic Classroom membership. You can read more about it and register here.
Check out our new and affordable lineup of online courses to help you navigate the challenges of remote and blended teaching and coaching. These courses are free to our paid annual subscribers, and the low fee for non-subscribers includes a trial membership to the site.
New members-only content is added each week to the Choice Literacy website. If you’re not yet a member, click here to explore membership options.
Jen Schwanke provides some critical questions for teachers to ask when they are interpreting a standard and bringing it to life with students.
Matt Renwick finds the data closest to the students we serve is more helpful to teachers than many benchmarks or screener scores.
In this week’s video, Christy Rush-Levine confers with Brendan about his literary analysis and how to match evidence and claims. She has him talk through his understanding of the text, using the oral rehearsal to plan his writing.
In an encore video, Danielle French helps first grader Dakota set goals based on standards while writing her nonfiction how-to essay.
David Pittman takes teachers in a PLC through a student-centered experience to help them understand a specific standard.
In this video from a third-grade lesson study, Jason DiCarlo works with teachers and specialists to define standards before a demonstration lesson.
Jennifer Gonzalez shares the magic of validation for getting through challenging conversations with students and colleagues.
Cynics are—beneath it all—only idealists with awkwardly high standards.
Alain de Botton
That’s all for this week!