Teacher Voice

Let’s Not ‘Spoon Feed’ Kids, Says This Teacher

Progress is often stalled by fear, the fear of trying of something new, the fear of searching for answers that do not come easily to us. Melody Arabo, the 2014-2015 Michigan teacher of the year, captures this anxiety on her personal blog well with regard to parents who are resistant to the Common Core State Standards. Their trepidation, she writes, has little to do with the content of the standards.
What I have realized through conversations with teachers and parents is that people are more frustrated with the resources we use to teach Common Core than they are with the standards themselves.… But is it fair to blame the standards because of weak materials? If you were trying to build a desk with the wrong tools, would you blame the instructions?
It’s understandably difficult for parents to see their children struggling with schoolwork. Yet if we want our children to master subjects, to learn how to arrive at solutions when the answer is elusive, some amount of sweat is warranted, Melody writes.
Kids are very capable of meeting our expectations, but most of the time, our expectations are way too low. We don’t want them to struggle, so we spoon-feed them exactly what they need to be successful. We get anxious if they have to solve problems on their own, so we solve as much as we can for them. We anticipate that they are too young to understand, so we don’t even bother to try and teach them. We have limited our kids to learning at the surface, giving them just enough to get by without ever letting them dig deeper. Common Core is our opportunity to change that.
Caroline Bermudez
Caroline Bermudez is chief storyteller at the Charter School Growth Fund and former senior writer at Education Post. Bermudez has been a journalist for almost 10 years. She was staff editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, covering the nonprofit world, with a particular focus on foundations and high net-worth giving. She has interviewed prominent business, political and philanthropic leaders ...

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