Preparing for Rain

1386953_87293749When people hear Common Core State Standards (CCSS), they immediately fall onto one side or the other in the great debate that is Common Core. Many stakeholders, parents, teachers, and administrators are for it, while many are railing against this large-scale change.

What do I think about it? I think at the end of the day, it is change. When it comes to change, no one is truly comfortable. We can believe what we want to believe, but we can’t stop progress and we can’t halt change.

Many argue that with great change comes a potential decrease in creativity, a reduction in individuality, and a stop to creative freedom. I would argue that with great change comes great opportunity – perhaps to even increase these same things. Everyone will face the same change, but how we respond to it will be what sets us apart. Will we create a system or lesson so innovative to accommodate this change that our students will leave with a greater knowledge and deeper understanding than we thought possible? I think so. Can we incorporate new standards in such a way that they come alive for our students and they become better thinkers because of it? Absolutely!

My wife read me an interesting quote from the Web that says “Does your preparation outweigh your concern?” It got me to thinking about a story regarding two farmers. Both farmers had a great need for rain because there were severe draughts across their land. One farmer believed that rain would come, so every day he would go out into the field and prepare his land as if rain were to come. The other farmer complained about the lack of rain but also believed that one day rain would come. Do you know what happened? Eventually, it rained and the first farmer saw a beautiful harvest that year while the other never saw any growth.

Common Core is the rain that will allow our students to grow and understand concepts at a deeper level. At first, rain may seem like a negative event. However, it is the vehicle that provides the nutrients necessary for growth. The time spent railing against change can be better spent embracing and preparing for it. I know that this transition will certainly not be easy, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be destructive. Just think, if standards never evolved, students would still be learning things applicable to times past instead of preparing for a future that is rapidly changing.

How then, will you choose to prepare for rain? Will you spend more time talking or preparing?

Post by Shawn Wigg, Former Lead Teacher and 2014 FLVS Teacher of the Year

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