During the Polar Vortex’s visit last week, I ventured out to school on a snow-day, like many teachers working on a day “off”. As I cautiously crept out of my neighborhood to make the 7 mile drive to school, I quickly realized the intelligence of our superintendent for canceling school. The roads were covered in black ice with sub zero temperatures. Our buses and walkers would have struggled to make it to school safely. Driving slow and cautiously, I turned onto the main road.
Quickly noticing a diverse group of adventurers out on the road. Some speeding along in their four-wheel drives, while others cautiously inching down the road like snails. As a jeep sped by I noticed the driver texting. When, checking my rear-view mirror, I caught a glimpse of the driver on the phone. Things that might be done under normal weather conditions, but not what I hope to see on the slick roads.
As I passed a couple of cars that had slid off of the side of the road, I began to wonder if driving teachers are going to be evaluated like school teachers. Instead of the driver paying the price of a wreck or receiving points on their license for their actions, their instructor will be marked down or pay the price with their career. OF COURSE this is ridiculous.
But this is what is happening in schools. Our students are like the drivers. Some listen to past instructional advice and proceed with caution. Other take risks and short cuts to get to where they are going on time and arrive safely. And finally there are those that are unlucky, unskilled or take too great a risk and end up wrecked on the side of the road. In all cases the driver is responsible for the end results, not their instructor.
Ultimately the learner is responsible for learning and the teacher is responsible for teaching. When examining the effectiveness of teachers examine their lessons, pedagogy and practice. By examining how well student receive their lessons measures learning which ultimately is the learners responsibility. Great lessons can be taught and the students have the free will to be active learners, passive learners or just be present. Everyone can learn but desire and effort are necessary for it to happen!