For me, there is one primary mission in my classroom every day: to increase my students chances for long-term flourishing. I believe that every one of my students has unique gifts within them that, when placed in the proper circumstances, will allow them to make positive contributions to the world that only they can make.
The question is, How does a teacher promote human flourishing?
When I first started teaching, I thought it was simply by being a positive role model in my students' lives. Then I thought it was giving students a positive experience in school. Then I thought it was giving students a lifelong love for reading and writing (note: I'm an English nerd).
But now that some of the first students I ever taught are ending their senior years of high school, these thoughts are under review.
What does it matter if Davonte is a lifelong reader that can't comprehend the complex texts? Will Kristen's future employers promote her if, despite her love for writing, she can't produce conventional sentences?
Now, I think that my job as a teacher is to be a positive role model and it is to provide positive learning experiences and it is to instill a love for reading and writing, but it is also (and primarily) about equipping them with the tools they'll need to open whichever doors they choose.
In short, I want my students to be college and career ready — and then it's up to them to determine how to use that readiness.
What does this have to do with the CCSS?
The CCSS are designed with college and career readiness (CCR) centrally in mind. In essence, the anchor standards are supposed to be a list of things that CCR students can do. These are the things that we want our students to be good at when they walk across our graduation stages — as determined by the CCSS.
Now, rather than looking at these standards and saying, “Wow, my kids can't do this. This is unreasonable,” it seems most helpful to me to determine simply whether or not these skills are needed in the world of work and/or college. Toward that end, I'll be trying to imagine real-world scenarios in which each anchor standard could be used. Based on a preliminary reading of the CCSS, I'm looking forward to that task. Unlike content standards that I've seen (in contrast to the CCSS, which are mostly skill standards), real-world scenarios should be easy to come up with.
Or not? What do you think? Do the CCSS paint an accurate picture of CCR? Leave a comment below!