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A Teacher's Summer

Now that the school year is over, I am already thinking about next year! How can I be a better teacher? I just purchased a book by Kelly Gallagher called In the Best Interest of (200×250)   . I have been teaching long enough to see how things "change" over time in the educational arena.  When I first started teaching, there were no standards.  I was given a list of novels to choose from and three writing types to teach; that was it!  Although it was nice having so much freedom, it was also frustrating at times.  I taught high school, and while some students knew the eight parts of speech, others did not.  While some students knew how to write an expository essay, others did not.  Then came the California State Standards.  It was an exhaustive list of standards, and most of these standards were simplistic in nature.  They really encouraged rote learning.  Now we have the Common Core Standards.  These standards are touted as being much more rigorous, and I do agree.   I like that students actually have to write as part of the state assessment.  I like that they have to synthesize information.  I like that there are questions on the test with more than one answer.  However, as a teacher, what I want to focus on is fostering a love of writing, reading, and learning in my students. So much of our focus is on preparing students for the end of the year test! I want to prepare them for life in the 21st century!  Gallagher's book tackles many of these issues.  So far he addresses both the pros and cons of the new standards.  He's also given me some great ideas for future writing assignments.  I highly recommend this book!

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