When did the Data of Teaching overtake the Art of Teaching?
As an educator, relationship building is one of the cornerstones of reaching students. The students that I've always taught came from generational poverty. For these students, there is no logical reason to do homework. They do not see any intrinsic value in learning grammar or algebra. I know; I was one of them.
Students need to trust that you are preparing them for something they know nothing about. Our data driven institutions' concern is not to celebrate how far students have come but to focus on how far the students still need to go. This single-mindedness sucks the life out of the educational process and makes teaching a dull routine. Nevertheless, they test, and test, and test some more. Primary and secondary benchmarks must be covered and tested every few days so that there will be data to prove something to somebody.
An Assistant Principal (at my former school) told my department that all language arts teachers must teach the same thing at the same time, and it did not matter if some had ESE, or the lowest 25%, and others had advanced, or ELL. It all sounds so ridiculous, yet it's very real.
There's an African saying that warns, “While the elephants are running around, the grass gets trampled”. The art of teaching is dying. I would hate to be a beginning teacher today listening to idiot AP's like the one I just mentioned.
Luckily, I'm not.
I still have a smile, a handshake, a pat on the back, and on occasion, a hug for any and all students-- all tools from the art of teaching.