Next week, my grade-10 team and I are going to pitch our unified grading approach to administrators and counselors. We are not seeking their permission. We are seeking to raise their awareness. We anticipate that over the course of the year they may have to field questions from parents, so we want them to be informed when that happens. But we also want them to be cognizant of the fact that there are teachers in the building who are innovating their practice to better meet the learning needs of kids. And so, when the perennial problems present themselves (Why are so many kids failing?), they have the opportunity to consider, if not point to, alternative approaches to age-old issues.
In education we have an affinity for the status quo. We cling to it. Desperately. But I believe that we embrace its comfort, not its wisdom. Change is messy. Change is work. Change is scary. So we avoid it, we stick to smooth sidewalks and see-the-bottom pools with shallow ends. To that end, we rarely point to problems of practice when it comes to understanding and addressing issues like too many F’s. Year after year, time after time, this problem persists, and year after year, time after time, we cast up the same excuses, all of which point fingers everywhere and anywhere but where the problem likely exists: traditional, it-has-to-be-done-this-way-because-it-has-always-been-done-this-way grading practices, practices that frequently perpetuate failing.
This has to change, and it can, but it requires approaching learning differently; it requires the willingness to step off the pave, to wade into the deep. It requires courage. I am pleased and proud that I have found two young ladies who are willing to go on a walkabout with me next year, braving new horizons and vast frontiers. No sidewalks. No shallow pools.
Happy Tuesday, all.