My sister-in-law, Anna, was in Anchorage over the weekend to support my nephew as a member of his school's Native Youth Olympics (NYO) team. We had a wonderful chance to watch the athletes in action and catch up on a number of topics.
Anna is a teacher and has been for 28 years. Her work is phenomenal and she is the backbone of her school program. She fills in when the principal has to be gone, provides support for those new to her school, advises students and staff members needing help with everything from where to find gradudation decorations in the attic to which companies to order supplies from that are reliable, and is a trusted member of the community. When she supports an idea, the people of her village know they can trust her and the idea because she carefully weighs it out before lending her name to it.
Stability in a school makes a world of difference for our children. They and their families know what to expect because there is a clear plan for education. The expectations are identifiable and constant. Those in policy and decision making roles for our schools and our children must take notice and rely upon the expertise of those who are most experienced and knowledgable about what will work.
We know endless testing and needless citation of state or national mandated goals and objectives in lesson plans will not improve our success rates. What will work? Teacher autonomy! Countries considered the most highly successful in educating their children do the least amount of testing! Hello??? Anybody listening???
I love my sister-in-law because she is a wonderful and accomplished person as well as fantastic teacher. Please, somebody listen to her!