- The curriculum should be the product of our process and not the driver of it.
- Our students are the standards of our schools.
- We cannot begin to write a curriculum if we do not first know how to take care of those that it will impact the most.
If you have been in education for more than 5 minutes, there is a big chance you have had a talk about higher standards. The majority of the time it is related to curriculum standards. Have you ever noticed that almost every time we talk about raising standards, it starts with curriculum? Now, I’m not saying that curriculum isn’t important, I’m just saying it isn’t the starting point for student improvement.
I hear you. How can curriculum not be the starting point? It is literally defined as “lessons and academic content taught in a school or in a specific course or program” by the glossary of education reform.
So how is this not the first step? Simple.
The curriculum should be the product of our process and not the driver of it.
You see, the process starts in the smallest places. We have teachers that are teaching live, remote, hybrid, from space, and anywhere else you can think of. They are using every platform under the sun. What they aren’t doing is getting the resources that they need.
How many of you were given any training or gave any training to your teachers or students on how to make this switch to virtual, hybrid, or whatever type of learning you are currently in? How much training has there been since it started? What new resources were given to you? Have there been any extra support staff members to help you? Has your administrator helped you with any of this? Admins, have you helped? I’m not talking about asking, “how you are doing?” That will be replied to with “fine” 99% of the time. Have you taught a class for a teacher, sent them to any training, or have just given them a day to decompress?Whether we are a teacher, department head, or administrator, we are only as good as the support we give. This requires us to listen to those we serve and make the changes necessary to serve them how they need it. Click To Tweet
You see, we cannot begin to write a curriculum if we do not first know how to take care of those that it will impact the most.
We definitely cannot raise the standards for those already struggling and then add no help in the process. If we are looking to a policy, program, or initiative to change the standards and achievement in our schools, we will always be destined to fail.
It is so simple, but so often overlooked. The success of our classrooms, schools, districts, and the education system relies heavily on the most basic things that we can do. We can’t win over a school with a random pizza party appreciation day. We can by showing up and showing out, especially when it is unsolicited.
This goes down to the smallest level possible. Teachers, how have you trained your students to use the technology they are using now? We can’t say that they are used to technology and they have it. Two years ago, we were using the excuse that basic technology functions were too advanced for our students. I know, because I’ve done it. I see it done every day.
The magic is in the smallest of moments.
I have a playlist for every one of my staff members. It is full of songs from their favorite music genres. Whenever I work with one of them, we listen to their playlist all day. I don’t tell them it’s their playlist, but it’s a small thing to make them feel more comfortable and really opens people up.
We talk, I learn more about them, and they usually end the day happier than they started it. I make notes while I’m with them. Favorite snack, movies, TV shows, etc. When I know they are having a bad day, I might show up with a copy of The Breakfast Club, or a Snickers and a Sonic drink. Our students work the same way.[scroll down to keep reading]
Our students are the standards of our schools.
Each one has their own learning language and processes for everything that they do. Our teachers are the subject matter experts of their students in their classrooms. They know how each one operates, reacts, and grows best. We must also know our teachers the way they know their students. We cannot truly support them if we don’t understand them and don’t spend the majority of our day seeking to help them.
Yes, there are administrative tasks that need to be done, and they aren’t always, if ever, fun. The fact is, everything we do and have is here for the sole purpose of educating our students. If it takes away from that, stop doing it.
Higher standards will only be possible if we are willing to give higher support. That includes people, time, effort, and definitely listening. Whether we are a teacher, department head, or administrator, we are only as good as the support we give. This requires us to listen to those we serve and make the changes necessary to serve them how they need it.
It doesn’t matter what I think is best. Just as students have their own learning language, everyone has their own support language. Support others how they need it and the rest will fall into place.
Curriculum Definition. (2015, August 12). Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.edglossary.org/curriculum/
About Taylor Armstrong
My name is Taylor Armstrong. I have an undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University and a graduate degree from Western Governors University. I’m currently getting my Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University.
I have been in either higher education or secondary education for 16 years now. I have worked at two universities and three school districts in various roles. My background is in Educational Psychology, Ed Tech, and Leadership. I am currently the Assistant Director of Technology at Vestavia Hills City Schools. I was the Technology Director at my previous school district, and the Coordinator or Academic Support at the University of Montevallo before that. I’m also a former baseball and football coach.
I have four children, Emma, Lydia, Riley, and Deuce, and a lovely wife named Leslie. I created a cause call Be The Compass (#bethecompass) that strives to help others lead, show others how to find their direction in life, empower others to achieve, and creates a community of uplifting and helping each other. And I love kids and being able to connect with them. That’s a big part of the Be The Compass cause. If we can adjust their course an inch now, we will see miles of difference in their future.