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15 July 2014 @ 11:43 am
Zombie Truths  
Yesterday I mused about the zombie lies of education. I thought perhaps a more positive post today might be in order. How about some Zombie Truths about education? Here are some truths that need to spring back to life every time someone tries to kill them with zombie lies. I'm looking at you, education reformers.

Zombie Truth #1: Teachers Love Kids

It is a truth that we go into education and into the classrooms because we love kids and we love seeing those lightbulbs go off as they learn something new or realize something wonderful about themselves or see a new connection between learning and their lives. Even in my online courses, I take great delight in the insightful comments made by my students as they examine new texts and revisit some of their childhood favorites. Last week at the literature academy in Conroe, Karin Perry and I talked about WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. As the participants turned the pages of the book and really took a look at the illustrations, there were those wonderful AHA moments. No matter the age of the learner, I love the AHA moments. To be witness to new discoveries is an incredible gift I receive as a teacher. It reminds me always to see things "through the eyes of a child." I passed a doe and her faun on the way to the office this morning and had one of those moments, too.

Zombie Truth #2: Teaching is about Cognition and about Affect

Too much of the media coverage of education fails to consider the affective part of education. It focuses on facts and data and scores. All too often it ignores the "other side." When reformers crow about the precipitous drop in test scores, I see face after face of students who now feel as though they are failures because of their performance on a new assessment. Reformers almost use this as a GOTCHA moment. Do they not see the damage done? How will a child who now deems herself or himself as a failure move forward? I think reformers see this as a grit issue. Failing children will get that steely resolve and rise to the new chalenges. Like a Horatio Alger character, they WILL succeed thanks to pluck and determination (and a "good" teacher). Well, that is not real life where too mnay kids define themselves by these scores and data and tests. Taking care, being empathetic, offering guidance: these are also part and parcel of teaching.

Zombie Truth #3: Teachers Spend the Summer Getting Ready for the Fall

As I read through my Facebook posts, I see all my educator friends posting about new ideas, sharing new books (trade and professional books), and participating in PD. Yes, it is summer vacation. But they are still thinking about those new faces waiting for them in the fall when classes begin once again. Most of the educators I know are almost insomniacs the night before school begins. Their excitement is palpable. Even though I am in the middle of my summer teaching, I am making plans for how I will adjust things for classes in the fall. New books, new assessments, new technologies will all play roles in the NEXT semester.

Okay, there are many more truths. I will be back with some more later. For now, back to reading and grading and planning. Long live Zombie Truths!
 
 
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