The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1. It is written by Grant Wiggins.
“During my nineteen-year career in the classroom, I taught for sixteen years in grades 9 through 12 in three good schools and for several years at the college level at an Ivy League institution. In all those years, I was never hired on the basis of a real job description or a performance-based test of my abilities. Rather, as in almost all teacher hiring, I responded to a notice about a content-area slot that needed to be filled. I was never required to directly show that I could teach. More importantly, perhaps, I was never given a real job description framed in terms of performance standards and learning goals. I merely had to provide reference in which I was praised and that verified my paperwork was accurate concerning my readiness to handle the job to be filled.”
This excerpt had real meaning for me. Let me first say this, I think there are many effective teachers out there. As a teacher myself, I certainly don’t want to go on a teacher-bashing tirade. It’s important that I don’t do that because there are so many out there that blame public education; those people often don’t understand the field of education at all and have no clue about how to improve it. However, being a teacher and a teacher leader, I have seen first-hand some issues that need to be addressed. One of these issues is real accountability. We use that word so much in education, but don’t always hold ourselves or each other to the level at which we should. I think the aforementioned quote by Grant Wiggins is a perfect example. His experience, unforutnately is what many experience when looking to be hired. We really don’t have to prove ourselves to a great degree. And school district rarely give a job description as far as standards and expectations. The business world is notorious for expecting results. Education does not need to fully function as the business world does, but we have something to learn from the business world in the aspect of accountability and expectations. We need to step it up a notch.