Sunday, October 16, 2011

Keep On, Keeping On....Dealing With the Data

"If you are doing something in the classroom, and you're not getting data from it, you shouldn't be doing it."    - Presenter on PLCs

I could not disagree with this statement more.  For this blog, I am going to start off with a quote I am against, and end with a quote that will motivate me to Keep On Keeping On.  Along with many teachers in this country, I am struggling with what I feel is right, and what I am being told I have to do.  Unfortunately, I am losing sight of why I love teaching along the way.  For some reason, we are becoming a data-obsessed country.   There is such a thing as, Too Much Data.  If I spend most of my time with students collecting data, and not enough time reflecting upon it and most importantly using it,  what is the point?  This is where I feel stuck.  I have collected a HUGE assortment of data for Reading in the past few weeks and this weekend I am hoping to have an opportunity to look at the data and answer the question, What next?

The above quote has defined my school year this far and I need to either:
A. Accept it
B. Accept it, but make it tolerable
C. Don't do it

If I go with C (Don't do it), I will be in big trouble so I am going to pass on that one...

If I go with A (Accept it), I am giving up all my hopes of why I became a teacher AND I am being a disservice to my students.  If I allow myself to be overtaken by data MOST of the time, how do I have time to form a bond with my students?  How will I have time to understand what my students need?  Data collection is not the answer to either of these questions.  I became a teacher because I want to inspire students.  I want to teach them to be passionate about learning something new.  I want to see that excitement and joy in their eyes MOST of the school day.  They are kids not robots, and they deserve more than what this country thinks is good for them.

Therefore, I am going with B (Accept it, but make it tolerable).  I am a great teacher.  I know what my students need.  I love teaching my students.  I love to to have fun with my students and laugh with them.  I am not going to let data get in the way of my love for teaching.  I am NOT going to let data get in the way of my student's love for learning.  I am making a promise to myself that if I feel anything other than what I have just stated,   I am slowing down.  I am doing what I feel is necessary to be a Highly Effective Teacher.  

I tell my students all the time that other people do not define you.  I tell them that the most important part of life is feeling confident with who you are and doing what is best for you.  It's time that I start following my own teaching.

Even though this year, so far, has been a struggle, I think it will make me an EVEN better teacher.  This is the best way for me to reflect back on the past month, and I am ready to make a change for me and my students.  Keep on, Keeping On!

"If there is not struggle, there is no progress."

How do you accomplish what you have to do, while still doing what you know is right? I welcome your thoughts.