Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Children are not data

     The following is a question I encountered while applying for a teaching position in  Holyoke. Needless to say,  I won't be called for an interview. I am posting my response. And the lack of punctuation is not my error, but theirs. 

       Please tell us three pieces of data that you monitor in order to plan and deliver differentiated instruction. Your answer should include why you believe that these data points are significant  

It saddens me that you ask for me to provide three pieces of data instead of three ways in which I engage my students. Instead of answering your question I will instead answer the following question: How do you engage your students so that they are invested in their education? I know that you will toss my resume out, but I feel that it is more important for my students to leave my classroom with the desire to learn more, as opposed to becoming a piece of data. Don’t get me wrong, I do track the effectiveness of my lessons. But as this is the only glance you will have of me, I would rather share my love of literature and my desire to find literature that speaks to my students as individuals. Literature teaches empathy. It lets us know that we aren’t alone in this world. If students can relate to what they are reading, it might foster a desire to read more. Now I do live in the real world, I know that not all students will read, not all students can read well. Some have to work to make ends meet, others have made it so far without learning. But I have seen students from different backgrounds fully engaged in a discussion while reading Looking For Alaska, by John Green. I watched students who had previously left a book untouched, engrossed in Green’s words. The book was relatable.  Data is not important to me. A student’s ability to connect a book to their own life, to compare and contrast, to think for themselves, these are the things that are important to me.  Each student is unique, each has a learning style, and what is important is that I know my students as individuals, that I connect with them, that I vary my lessons so that I include as many learning styles as I can. I want students to be able to walk out of my classroom and be able to answer larger questions, to think through issues and to argue different viewpoints. That is what I will strive for as a teacher, not whether my data points are significant. So I hope that you find the perfect applicant for this position. 

1 comment:

  1. I just came across this while applying for a position there and I like your response.