Thursday, September 17, 2015

No Pavement Markings.

It's a common occurrence on the roads of Lancaster County in the summertime; the partial repaving of stretches of roads.  This year, it was especially prevalent, and accompanied by the installations of some curious road signs, bearing the message "NO PAVEMENT MARKINGS."

My husband and I have commented, somewhat sarcastically, over the last few months, about the time and energy involved in erecting and installing so many signs, wondering if the effort was in any way commensurate with the obvious alternative -- repainting the lines on the newly-paved roads.  The true answer, and reasons for the signs, are still lost to us.

Those road signs are not without purpose for me these days, to my surprise.  They've become a metaphor for my teaching.  Sure, I have a road -- it's called Curriculum.  My job as a teacher is to get my students down that road in a meaningful way.  And by meaningful, I mean significantly important to each student, requiring differentiation strategies to represent the capability of each, engaging them in ways that cause the explicit use of higher order thinking skills (HOTS) as often as possible, to increase understanding, and transfer that learning into long term memory.

Two weeks into my intentional use of Inquiry Based Learning, I'm getting it.  More important than that, the kids are getting it.  They are starting to realize that asking me what I expect is less important than defining for themselves what they can do, and reaching for that goal.  

I am the scattered dots on the road, serving to "suggest" where the middle of the road is.  I am not a double yellow line, keeping kids in a steady stream of traffic moving at the same rate of speed.  

And I'm kind of hoping that the orange signs in my neighborhood are permanent, and that they aren't replaced by yellow paint on the road any time soon.  I'm getting used to the idea of self-directed driving.