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The Have-To’s and the Want-To’s of Education

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November 2011

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Life is full of things we have to do that we don’t necessarily want to do (the endless pile of laundry to wash is one example).  Here is a brief list of things that as an educator I have to do, and those I want to do.

Have To:

  • Assign letter grades
  • Give standardized assessments
  • Wake up early to be at work early
  • Go to meetings
  • Teach children at their level
  • Engage students in their own learning
  • Build relationships

Want To:

  • Have fun with my students
  • Put a smile on each child’s face
  • Teach children at their level
  • Engage students in their own learning
  • Build relationships
  • Watch the confidence on a child’s face when she discovers something new she has learned
  • Collaborate with other educators who care about kids and good teaching
  • Grow professionally every day

So I liked this topic, but as I started thinking about it, there are very few things that I “have” to do as an educator that I don’t also “want” to do.  I actually don’t mind meetings when they are focused and worthwhile.  I’m not a fan of traditional letter grades and grading systems, but am in favor of showing student growth through performance-based measures (and standards-based mastery).  Standardized tests are not fun for anyone.  Period.  And there are many, many better ways to show what students have learned and mastered.  But, even with a couple of things I have to do, I hold a lot of power in making the “wants” happen each day in my career.  For that, I’m very thankful.

 

Image from http://blogs.uab.cat/meriter/teaching-activities/
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