It seems that in today’s educational world, we are always being asked to do one more thing. This year alone at the high school, our district has rolled out block scheduling, Common Core State Standards, Embedded support time, redesigned classrooms, Project Based learning (PBL) district wide implementation, Positive Behavioral Intervention Strategies (PBIS), and we had a WASC revisit.
After implementation of so many new things (all of which just happened to coincide this year, but all were looked for, asked for and voted on) the district also instituted a TOSA Coaching program, which I am a part of as a Technology Integration Specialist. Take a moment, a deep breath, and think about all of that change happening at once. Close your eyes. Can you see it? I am sure that you can. As Teachers, we face these kinds of changes and rapid-fire implementations often, and I have come to label it the One More Thing Movement. It is not new, and it will not go away, and I think the sooner we realize it, the better we are going to be able to prioritize it (the new thing), adopt it and move it into our practice.
I have heard, and been a part of, the vocal opposition to these kinds of fly-by-night adoptions and implementations. If we change everything, how can we evaluate the effectiveness of the programs? How do we know the effect each program is having? How can we tell what to keep and what to discard? That has been the cry of the modern teacher for at least as long as I have been teaching.
But we have to remember, Change is good, and like most things, it needs to be done in moderation. While I am not advocating becoming a classroom hermit, it would be a whole lot of crazy to take on every one of these changes at one time. In my new role, I am advocating a moderate approach, and hence, the title of the blog, One More Thing . . .
For the next few weeks, work on incorporating One More Thing into your bag of tricks. Choose one of the initiatives that piques your interest the most, that seems like it is doable without much fuss, or something that you feel you and your students can handle without much disruption to your current class FLOW. Devote yourself to doing the best you can at using that One More Thing, learn about it, ask your fellow teachers about it, heck, put in a ticket for some TOSA help for it, I can come down and help too. But the goal here is using and knowing and experiencing that One More Thing in your room.
At the end of this trial period (3-4 weeks at minimum), reflect on your One More Thing, blog about it, journal, talk to colleagues, students, spouse. Evaluate what change it had on your practice, your classroom, your students. Is your life easier, more streamlined, have your students responded well, has it had the intended effect? Can this New Thing replace something you have been doing in class up to now? After this period, you should be able to decide if this One More Thing is worth placing in your bag-o-tricks. If it is, GREAT! Keep at it, because now, after this period of “newness,” this Thing is just that, a Thing. It is not that One MORE Thing.
If not, well, then toss it aside, you don’t need something that isn’t making your life, your student learning, or your student/teacher experience better, do you? But you gave it a good go, and you have the proof when the administration comes looking for that thing in evidence in your class.
Once you have completed this introduction, take a rest. Do not introduce/try/pilot anything new, at least for as long as you piloted that Last Thing (three to four weeks). Use this time to get back into the flow of class, moving the students along. You don’t need the pressure of trying another thing so soon, and keep in mind, there will always be time to try One More Thing . . .