If your school is like mine, you have sat in more data team meetings this year than ever before, grade level data teams, ELL data teams, title reading data teams and I’m even trying to figure out how to start data team meetings to focus on our special education students. In all of these meetings with all of these different groups of amazing teachers, my literacy coach, Tonya Buelow and intervention teacher, Eric Gulley, have been with me as we facilitate targeted conversations with teachers around student data. With every group of teachers we have tried hard to deliver one specific message-
Yep, that’s right, we said it…PANIC, it’s okay, we want you to AND we want you to do it NOW. Not later, NOW. What we mean by this is: teach with a sense of urgency.
Regie Routman says it best in Reading Essentials:
When I suggest that we need to “teach with a sense of urgency” I’m not talking about teaching prompted by anxiety but rather about making every moment in the classroom count, about ensuring that our instruction engages students and moves them ahead, about using daily evaluation and reflection to make wise teaching decisions. Complacency will not get our students where they need to be. I am relaxed and happy when I am working with students, but I am also mindful of where I need to get them and how little time I have in which to do it. I teach each day with a sense of urgency. Specifically, that means that I am very aware of the students in front of me, the opportunities for teaching and evaluation on the spot, the skills and strategies I need to be teaching, the materials I need, the amount of time available, and the optimal contexts and curriculum.
We need to get down to the essence of what we believe and what we do to ensure our students become excellent readers who choose to read. If we don’t know how to teach reading and move students forward, we must take responsibility for learning how. We must jumpstart our own professional development.
If you aren’t panicking then you might need to ask yourself why? And remember, we don’t mean panic driven by anxiety but instead panic driven by urgency.
Are you okay with the status quo?
Are you missing something?
Are your standards too low?
This is not a drill.
Every moment counts. Let’s use them because if you don’t you’ll lose them.
(Thanks to Eric Gulley for the inspiration for this post!)