Evaluating school reform.
During the discussion this week a few of my fellow students echoed my feelings on school reform. “I don’t really think about it I just sort of follow the instructions given from above.”
After weeks of reading and discussing leadership suddenly school reform seems a bit more involved. Reforms that work are reforms that are matched well to the school population AND are implemented consistently over time, by everyone in the school.
As a teacher I thought of reform mostly in terms of what can I do to improve my own classroom. Often this included collaborations with other teachers and if the principal were receptive it might even include some discussions on implementing school-wide practices. What it didn’t include was creating a consensus of staff and working together to create positive changes in school. (Not necessarily because I didn’t want to, but because I figured that was as they say, ‘above my pay grade’)
Reforms were always things decided on by high level administrators and implemented by teachers. At times we were allowed to decide to get on or off he bus, but rarely, at least in my experience, have teachers had a voice in choosing the reform.
After this week I see deciding on school reform is a job that should intimately involve teachers from the very beginning. It is teachers in the end who will be the people implementing the actions of the reform and so getting their buy-in from the very beginning is of utmost importance. More than that though the discussion between teachers and administration about the direction of the school and the needs of the children is a conversation that should be happening.