Aya Academy of Excellence


Urgency: Feeding Academic Hunger

 I used to think it was ‘enough’ to just teach – write a lesson, deliver a lesson and guage student outcomes based on the lesson.  But as I have noted in my own classroom, and which is noticed by teachers in classrooms across the nation, just ‘enough’ isn’t quenching the thirst of students seeking more depth then dearth or the rigor of rote over the energy of enagement.  So what’s the rub?  Although I know countless teachers who feel the importance of feeding their students’ academic needs, there are out-of-the-classroom barriers that make doing so an uphill battle.

The biggest impediment in teachers’ providing more substantive learning experiences isn’t their lack of desire, resources or training nor is it inept administrators or incongruent standards.  Although each of these can be factor, the more insidous cause is the status quo.  Every school and every district has a culture.  For those earnest about providing quality instruction, too often the ‘doing things as they have always been done’ culture must be addressed.  Sometimes this is a top-down culture, other times it has been so entrenched in the day-to-day lives of schools that it is felt and perpetuated by all parties – teachers, administrators and students.   The malignancy of time erodes teachers ability to impart quality instruction.   Whether explicity stated or implicitly implied, teachers are told ‘not now.’  Addressing and correcting individual student issues or ineffective cogs in a broken system are slowed to a halting stop by the barriers established to ensure that the status quo remains and change, even mission-driven change for the good of the students, does not occur.  The wheels of change are slowed to halting stop by the red tape of districts and administrators, the contstant state of ‘crisis’ within the education system at large since 1982’s release of a Nation at Risk and the perpetual disparate needs of students who have not been empowered to decide their own fates.

Ever been hungry? Ever felt the pangs of hunger so strong that although a full course meal is what you needed you just opted for a sugary treat to satisfy you?  If so, you know the pains of our kids.  They need a good intellectual meal and we placate their desire with a snack lacking in scholarly nutritional depth.

 



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