Having a dress code matters in far too many schools. I know of schools where, on dress down days, kids wear strictly primary colors depending on their affiliations, or look down on one another for inexpensive wardrobe. It also sets a tone, teaching students early that coming to school is like coming to work in a way where looks matters, so dress appropriately. At least these are some of the arguments people use for dress code. In fact, the middle and high schools I went to as a student had strict guidelines for everything from summer dress to facial hair.
As a teacher, however, I just don’t think this needs to take precedence over my students’ learning.
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Jose, who had over 100 shares in his first Edutopia post … and he has you to thank for that
To my readers:
Thanks to your support, I am happy to announce that Edutopia has invited me to write a guest blog for their website. (Full disclosure: they’re sponsored by the George Lucas Education Foundation. Yes, that George Lucas.) Here’s an excerpt from my back-to-school posted entitled “Cheat Sheet for the First Days of School”:
As the bulletin boards go up and the chalkboards, whiteboards and Smartboards get dusted and polished for another intense school year, some of the newer teachers (at one point, this was me, too) scramble to remind themselves of the tone they need to set in the classroom, and how their own routines will often mirror students’ routines. Any good teacher knows that we all have shortcuts, a handy set of things we need to remember before we develop the other, more elaborate parts of our routine.
1) Develop an easy slogan for expectations in your classroom.
Having a slogan that everyone can remember will remind kids of the rules you clearly set in the beginning of the school year. Few of us (teachers included) look up at the rules and cite them in our punishment. Most teachers have a general guideline of behaviors that we expect and pull up quickly when a student has crossed a certain line. For instance, my slogan is usually founded on respect: i.e., “Respect yourself, respect me and respect each other.” Most of the rules we live by in the classroom follow in more detail. I rarely have to look up at the rules, because the kids remember the word “respect” and, for that matter, “disrespectful.”
As usual, I count on all of you to share, comment, and like the article in whatever capacity you can. Thanks a lot.
Jose, who has had a good Monday …
The trend of gamifying our culture has had some benefits in other areas. Weight Watchers uses a points system to discourage customers from eating fatty foods. Nike+ has developed a specialized program (with shoes!) that help you compete against others through exercise. Klout uses equations to help rank people and brands through social media. Games often find themselves in the tools we as teachers use to encourage kids to learn skills.
But there’s a huge difference between what those examples and Khan has evolved into; all those examples only supplement their ultimate purposes. Khan Academy’s mission now includes replacing and / or undermining the expert in the classroom.
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Jose, who has about 26 hours left in this book competition. Time’s running out.
p.s. – Even McKayla Maroney is unimpressed with the peanuts at Khan Academy.
However, I can’t help but feel some sort of way about the risk / reward dynamic that’s played itself out when it comes to advocacy. As professionals, how long can teachers wait until our profession gets completely stripped away from us? How much will we tolerate policy committees and education panels without so much as a former teacher, much less a current one? How often do we value the opinions of self-proclaimed experts and leaders and don’t look towards ourselves as such?
Share. Comment. Love. Thanks for everything.
Jose, who is patiently waiting …