As I was attending my last PD at my school in June, I sat in several sessions taught by the young up-and-coming teaching super stars on my campus.
They were vivacious. They were energized. They knew all the right things to say, and the right buzz words with which to say them. They were masters of classroom technology. They had ice breakers and bell ringers and “we do”s and “you do”s and everything laid out nicely for an impromptu admin walk-through and evaluation.
And it was the most depressing non-learning experience I’ve ever had. “Oh no,” I thought, “they’ve already become robots!”
I remember sitting at my table, surrounded by colleagues with a wealth of information and experience, and I realized that our profession had been reduced to nothing more than testing and checklists and hoop jumping.
I don’t see things getting better anytime soon, and talking things over with the people in charge doesn’t usually help, so I’d like to advocate that all teachers become mavericks when it comes to how we run our classrooms and teach our students.
All it takes is an understanding of the environment of your particular school and your audience in the classroom, a willingness to be a little bold, and the ability to fly under the radar.
Mavericks may not ever be the school’s superstars, but I believe they’re the best teachers. Best of all, you can meet the needs of your students (and all those high-stakes tests) without the three-ring-circus rigamarole that makes you want to go home and never come back.
Here’s how to be a maverick in four simple steps: