This post was created when I started commenting on Miguel Guhlin's post today on "Deviant Achievers" and the role they play in the current educational process.
Today, we are caught up with testing. Testing has become such an enrgrained part of our daily lives as educators that it effects everything we do in the classroom. One of the things that makes my position as the Technology Coordinator and Technology Arts teacher at our school a little different is that there isn't a STAR test or CST that I have to make sure I cover the material on, so that the students I teach will be able to score well on these tests. If you look at the classes I teach, Computer Systems Design and Cisco Networking, you would think that there would be very little emphasis placed on literacy skills. If you ask the students I teach, they could point to several assignments where they read, write and exhibit information literacy skills. In Miguel's post, he quotes several individuals that mention that if you do not, 'Teach to the Test,' you are a "Deviant Achiever."
As Miguel goes on, he states that our goal should be 'transparency.' This idea strikes fear in the hearts of most professional educators; teachers and administrators. While, I know in my district and in districts around the country there are many tremendous teachers out there and I would say the vast majority do a great job educating the students we teach. The one thing we don't talk about is the fact that there are some teachers and administrators that simply cannot perform the jobs they have and we consistently do things to protect these people.
If we become transparent, we force something to be done... either do the job or get someone out. We show the parents and the community what we are doing at school This forces teachers to teach and administrators to administrate. The quote I use on this blog speaks precisely to this point. 'There is a big difference between teaching thirty years and teaching one year thirty times.'
Being a professional educator requires that you are a 'life-long learner' and that teaching is a journey, not a destination. Part of this journey is preparing students to perform the tasks they will be asked to do in their adult lives and to become life-long learners themselves.
There are those currently in the profession that belive that we can still teach without technology and online resources, this simply is not true. EVERY STUDENT will need to use technology based information resources in the jobs they will hold in our society. To me, these are necessities, not conveniences to the educational process. Those teachers and administrators who beleive that they can perform the task of preparing students for the work world of the 21st Century without using these tools has, in the words of some in the 'hip-hop' culture, "perpetrated a fraud on society."