A Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) teacher must prepare their students for the ubiquitous Maryland School Assessments; practice differentiation in a classroom that may include the best and the brightest and special education students; implement Baldrige in the classroom; be familiar with the latest “bling” in technology à la interactive whiteboards; deal with the latest “innovation” that comes down the pike, Rockville Pike that is; meet the quotas established by administrators ensconced at Carver, the school headquarters; deal with unruly classrooms; teach the whole child; be appealing to a generation that reveres Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, while in your head Tom Jones keeps singing Love is Like Candy on a Shelf; and … . Well, you get the gist.
On page 134, of Leading for Equity, that tantalizingly slim book about MCPS, the authors claim that “Effective differentiation of instruction requires diagnosing student needs, developing potential solutions, putting them into practice, and reflecting on their effectiveness. This is a professional endeavor, not a technical task. The strategy of differentiation respects and elevates teachers’ roles as critical to the learning of all of their students.” So, don’t forget, differentiation isn’t just teaching.
Oh, I almost forgot, they must teach the subject matter well. Waiting for Superman and Superwoman? Those superheroes must be in our classrooms. Or, are they?
Don’t you worry though, you are not alone. Remember the lyrics of Sonny and Cher’s I’ve Got You Babe? MCPS has got you covered, with videos that is.
Differentiation? They’ve got video for that. Curriculum 2.0? Got video. Baldrige? Got video for that too. What about Algebra, you ask? Thought you got me on that one, did you? Well, according to Harvard (Page 90, paragraph 2, of Leading for Equity), there will soon be a video GAME for that.
Perhaps, in the future (that means next-week), you might be issued small communicator badges, like the ones those characters in Star Trek used to wear. Just a light tap on the badge and a disembodied voice will whisper the words you must say to your students. Unruly class? Squeeze that badge tight and you will be instantly teleported to the nearest safe haven, a local Starbucks. There, all your favorite stars from yesteryear, as seen on PBS during pledge week, will sooth your senses. Cue The Tennessee Waltz.
It is often said that humor masks pain or embodies a lesson. Be it funny or not, this column asks a simple question: are we overburdening our teachers? What do you think?