Oh, I miss posting on this blog. And I am touched that people have noticed that I’ve been absent and that they even want to know why. Well, here it is. I am on the home stretch as a candidate for National Board Certification. That means I am writing ALL of the time, but I am not writing here.
“Why are you doing that?”
“Why do you need it?”
“Why would you want that?”
“Why would you risk failing something, when you don’t have to?”
These questions are really all the same and there is really only one answer. I love this profession. And I embrace the idea of teacher driven professional standards. To prove that, I am seeking certification. The more I write about teaching, the more I learn. This kind of qualitative research (where questions lead to reflective inquiry) is part of instructional accountability in the classroom.
I am seeing more and more that institutional accountability is more quantitative (looking for numbers to back up and enforce policy) than qualitative. These parallel lines of accountability don’t intersect, because parallel lines never do. That’s math.
The assumption in the policy world right now is that data is proof. But data from arbitrary measures in a system of accountability with ever moving goal posts and ever changing variables will never prove anything. It is hard to prove learning and transformation in a classroom with numbers. Think about transformation and deep learning in your own life. It there a mathematical formula for it? The proof is more likely in your life choices and contributions to the world around you. Maybe that transformation began in classroom with an accomplished teacher (shout out to Mr. Blackwell and Mrs. Vawter).
Good teachers know how important inspiration and imagination are to the literate and successful life. They are measured by hard work, steadfastness, and compassion. And joy, relationship, imagination, inspiration, community, and collaboration. These can’t be mandated or prohibited or codified or data-fied. They blaze success in the lives of real teachers, with real children, in real communities.
I am in this to win. Not just the National Board process, but teaching. Education. I am suspicious of “policy” as a parallel track. It seems like a salaried arm chair sport. How can we merge institutional and instructional accountability to produce real impact? I think it begins with inspiration and imagination.