When we think about the upcoming changes to teacher evaluation and the implementation of Common Core, it is easy to begin worrying. The unknown can be frightening, especially when the details of Common Core and assessments still seem unclear. For now, I am choosing not to be worried. I remind myself that I work with hard-working and caring teachers. A shift in curriculum or even evaluation is not going to drastically change the great teachers at my school. They are still going to teach with their students in mind. They are still going to require students to master rigorous content. They will still utilize technology to make lessons engaging and exciting. They will still teach as if every student has the potential to go to college. They will still care about their students. What they do on a daily basis will not change. The terminology or latest acronym for the strategies they use might be different, but they will still be great teachers.
We cannot live in fear of more rigorous standards or new approaches to evaluation. We have to adapt, but that does not mean that we have to leave behind what works. Implementing the Common Core will be challenging at first as our students enter courses without certain prerequisite skills. Hopefully, it will be easier as each group of students begin with the Common Core in elementary school. For mathematics, my hope is that our students become better problem-solvers and learn to persevere through problems as suggested by the Standards for Mathematical Practices.
For me, I am remaining hopeful. Hopeful that good teaching will always be good teaching. Let’s flip our point of view. Maybe, the Common Core will change our students. Maybe, they will come to us with skills that they have been lacking in the past. Maybe, they will view learning as an opportunity.