Growing up I hated the Dave Matthews Band. I had never really heard them or given them much of a chance. I hated them because everyone and their mother loved them. Looking back this was a dumb reason to not give a band a chance. It did make me realize that some part of me was always going to rebel against the what I felt were the norms of society. This carries over to education and my teaching.
My classes are loud with music and tons of movement. You are probably thinking well you teach physical education this makes sense. However, my health classes are loud and filled with music as well. I have been using brain boosts and movement in my health classes years before @gonoodle improperly mislabeled them brain breaks! This ran counter to every class that I had taken as a student and almost all of them that I had observed as an adult. Classroom management used to be how well you could have students sit in a desk and listen to you. It is starting to catch on now that this is not the best way to teach. I didn’t need a book or an expert to tell me that. Did we need studies to remind us how much it sucked sitting for long periods of time listening to a teacher drone on and on when we were kids? This is just one educational norm that needed to broken.
The dress code that schools adhere to is hilarious to me. Does wearing a suit make you a better administrator? Do uncomfortable shoes allow you to move around the building better as you visit classrooms? Oh, you have to show parents and other stakeholders that you are in charge. The suit shows that. It is impossible to be unintelligent or be a poor administrator if you are wearing one. But society expects administrators to dress a certain way to be taken seriously. It wasn’t long ago that businessmen all had to wear suits. That has changed. Check out this article. I really loved Steve Job’s suits. Oh, wait. This is another educational norm that needs to be broken.
Teachers must dress up. You can only wear jeans on Friday. The ability of a teacher changes with the attire they don. Fridays they teach at a much lower caliber because they are “dressed down”. Does that mean that 20% of the year teachers aren’t being as effective as they should be? It wasn’t that long ago that women were told they had to wear dresses. Did their ability to teach decrease when they were “allowed” to wear dress clothes that weren’t dresses? Yup, you guessed it. Another educational norm that needs to be broken.
Do I even want to get into student dress codes? It discriminates against girls at an alarming rate. There is article after article about dress codes and rape culture. This article explains how a dress code that limits what a girl can wear puts boys educations ahead of girls. This article shows how forcing girls to dress a certain way puts the onus on them that their body is the problem. We hear how boys can’t control it or they are biologically programmed a certain way. This is the same mentality that allows 1 in 5 girls to be sexually assaulted in college. Society needs to change the way they look at what girls wear and what is appropriate. Education needs to take a hard look at what their hidden curriculum is really saying to both boys and girls.
My counterculture rebel attitude doesn’t stop there. Let’s look at all the great phrases and buzzwords that have taken control over education. Grit, rigor, growth mindset, connected educator, for the students, and so on and so on. When these ideas reach the tipping point they become watered down versions of their origins. I love the growth mindset. It has become so overused and watered down that even Carol Dweck went back and revisited it and found fatal flaws with how it was being used. It has become a reason to tell students it is ok that they are not learning because they are working hard. Check her article out here. It seems that the more something catches on the less effective it becomes.
My point to this blog is that I will always be on the outside looking in. I won’t have a seat at the cool table. I will always be that cynic that sees what everyone else is doing and see if that is really the best way to do things. Usually, it isn’t. Do you want to be a cool kid sitting at the cool kid table or do you want to make your own table and force them to sit with you?
Q1: What is the band you love to hate because everyone else loves them? #slowchatpe
Q2: How do you feel about the dress code for teachers at your school? #slowchatpe
Q3: Do you think the dress code for students discriminates against girls? #slowchatpe
Q4: What buzzword do you think is overused and under practiced? #slowchatpe
Q5: Who is the cynic that you follow that will always alert you to the problems of education? #slowchatpe