Sticking to the Curriculum

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherWhoRuns, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Does anyone have, or had in the past, a principal who is insistent that you stick to the curriculum with no exceptions? No augmenting, no games outside of those in the adopted materials, no additional texts for reading or homework, nothing. He's even told us he wants to be told if we find out any of our colleagues are using resources from TPT or older curriculum or anything outside the district's current stuff, that we are to tell him about it.
    Great team-building, no? This is a new principal who is quite challenging, to say the least.
    We have a large population of English learners and the current curriculum has limitations, just as they all have.
    At this point I feel so cut off at the knees in terms of creativity that I get physically choked up thinking about it. I spent years creating games for learning centers that were very successful.
    On the other hand, I've saved money. I now refuse to spend my own money on anything for the classroom, since it's probably out of bounds.
    I can't tell you how many people I work with who've expressed that they used to love their jobs and this year they're counting days until the next vacation break.
     
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  3. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I think you guys should confront the principal as a team----he can't fire all of you!!
     
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  4. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  5. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Dec 2, 2017

    I briefly worked at charter school with a principal like OP's. It's the reason I was only there briefly. Leaborb, I'm curious how you phrase this question during interviews? I'd love to borrow it next time I'm job hunting - very smart question.
     
  6. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Dec 3, 2017

    Since your P. sounds like a control freak, I would guess that a confrontation by a disgruntled staff might end up as an adversarial disaster. How about sending an anonymous letter (my favorite kind in these matters) to the superintendent that would be identical to your original post? If he/she cares at all about how the authoritative style of your new principal is affecting staff morale, there's a chance that some action might be taken. Otherwise, just hang on tight for the ride!
     
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Although the opposite extreme is just as catastrophic, I've been suspicious of a one-size-fits-all pattern developing in education. It brings forth three questions. Why certify teachers if all they do is follow a recipe? But a more important question is, how do curricula developers know precisely who is in the classroom, what particular environment and culture the class will be composed of, what type of re-planning is required to confront weather conditions, emergency drills, noisy days (from wind, construction, whatever); flu epidemics, and the list can go on? A greater fear I have is why standardize the lesson in the first place? Is it because society is trying to cookie cutter a factory product and reject the (supposedly) bad eggs that just don't seem to fit in?
     
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  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  10. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    This is an excellent point. Why pay for a teacher prep program if all you do is read a script? How do you play that up in your resume? "Consistently exhibit excellent recitation of scripted curriculum lessons."

    So, yes, we are expected to be able to adapt at a moment's notice to unexpected situations, but not adapt to the learning needs of students, yet we are supposed to differentiate instruction while reading those scripted lessons. How? Emphasize different words to different students? My district is infamous for constantly adopting new programs, then throwing them out after 2-3 years for the next thing. Sales people must love it when my district comes up on their list of cold calls.
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  12. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    I love this question! My district is currently involved with a group who is working to replace high-stakes testing in our state with project assessment. I love the idea in theory, however what they are trying to do it create summative projects that can be standardized and used across the state. I love project-based learning and use it extensively, however it has to be organic. What I plan for my group may need to be adapted for the classroom next door and may not even suit a district across the state. I know they need to standardize it so that there would be something to replace the old assessment model and so teachers not used to project assessment would have a stepping stone, but once it's standardized it loses its luster.

    OP, if I had to teach under a P like that I would be miserable too. It takes all the fun out of teaching. Like Leaborb, I also ask about this in interviews. I usually say something like "How much freedom would I have to work with the curriculum to better fit my teaching style?" Although, this question is only helpful going into a district and not when there is an administration change. I'm not sure how this P can stay on top of this for very long. And I sincerely hope the staff respects each other enough to not rat each other out for using TPT.
     
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  13. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I recall a third grade reading curriculum where even I, the teacher, couldn't comprehend the text if I read through it quickly, it was that choppy!

    And the mistakes in curricula that pop up now and then....Let's see, there was a classroom map that I thought looked suspicious, so I checked the latitude/longitude lines. Not even close! Let's see, I've encountered in various curricula, the moon being larger than the earth, two completely different definitions of arteries (in the same textbook), a completely different workbook page than what was in my TE, sometimes outdated or even inaccurate scientific information, a project to construct a device to measure something, I think it was wind speed, in which students were to stick their arm our of a car window in order to mark the speed (I collected the projects and did this myself after school on a stretch of freeway that had almost no traffic--NEVER AGAIN). I'm actually a bit understanding of curricula errors, and I just chuckle at them and continue teaching, but...it is another example of why follow-the-script doesn't work.
     
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  15. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    You reminded me of one administrator's story. She and other colleagues visited a large school. They moved from class to class and were surprised that they didn't miss any part of the same lesson. Not only were the teachers teaching the exact same thing, they were doing it at the exact same time! (By the way, she was not in favor of such teaching).
     
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  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Personally, I can't imagine anything worse than being handed a "curriculum" and being expected to use it word-for-word with no deviation or augmentation. Here, our "curriculum" is our provincial standards for each subject area. We are given the "what", but never the "how".
     
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  17. YoungTeacherGuy

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    Dec 5, 2017

    CA has super strong union presence.

    That being said, in my district, no administrator would be foolish enough to do this . If a principal attempted to make this sort of irrational demand, though, it would end up as a grievance.
     
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  18. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  19. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Just had a thought pop in my mind. The brain itself doesn't even operate under standardized procedures. The brain is plastic, constantly reconfiguring itself. So if we're teaching plastic brains, shouldn't we teach the same way rather than trying to force feed standardized lessons?
     
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  20. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    I'm pretty sure that would be my principal's dream situation. That way there would be standard answers to any questions that arise from the district or from parents about what is happening in the classroom. I'm sure he'd also appreciate the room arrangements and wall space all being completely uniform also.
    After having a really annoying post-observation discussion where I was marked low for not using specific academic language, (although I do regularly use the language, apparently I just used synonyms that day instead of his preferred terminology) I was more sure than before that this is not his last stop. I think being a principal is just a layover on a trip to district administration, or more likely, to a textbook company. I think he'd be happiest outside of actual academia, just going around from school to school telling teachers how to teach.
     
  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Ouch! I feel so bad for what you are going through. If I was in your situation, I would feel really frustrated. I did have this situation once. I really tried to work it out. I didn't get anywhere. I ended up leaving for another school. I hope it doesn't get to that point, and you are able to work somehow with the P. My only advice is try to get along with P on other items. If P likes you and sees you are a good teacher, maybe the P might open up his ears a bit.
     
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