I became a teacher to help students grow. To help them face their challenges and conquer them in meaningful ways. To help them figure out who they were and where they fit into this world. I became a teacher to teach, in the truest sense of the word. Not to trust a computer to do my job.
With the craze of data collection and the push for more and more tests to gather even more data, I cannot help but wonder what happened to the spirit of teaching? Where is our push for better teaching, not just based on data, but rather on the spirit of the child that stands in front of us? Why is it common that a teacher’s intuition or a teacher’s experience with a child takes second place to what a computer or an anonymous test grader thinks? What happened to us being trusted as professionals? Can a computer or a bubble test really tell us more about a child that than what we already know?
I am not dismissing data as a whole but rather the seemingly absurd way we push for more and more as if the computer can unlock the secret to all that a child needs to grow. What happened to the notion of the whole child as a learner, of the child being on a journey to become a person, not just a worker? I know my students will one day have jobs, but right now they have a life to explore. A life to create and a person to grow into. Where are we leaving room for that in our curriculum?
I wonder how we can move into meaningful data collection. Whether that is an oxymoron in itself. Is there room for the child on our data walls? Or has the data itself swallowed the child and they have just become a statistic. A name to be moved up and down a wall, despite what a teacher might say. What happened to teaching?
I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” can be pre-bought now from Powerful Learning Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.