So glad summer is here as it gives me a chance to reflect on my year, career and the profession of teaching. This is my second year teaching all day kindergarten after teaching half-day K nearly 20 years ago. I had been in first grade for the majority of my career and jumped at the chance to teach all day K when it was established in my district last year. Being a male in an elementary classroom has always been a unique experience, but nothing compares to teaching kindergarten.
Recently, on Facebook, I posted a blog New York Times regarding classroom displays and distracting younger learners. The responses were varied, but it occurred to me that most respondents were citing their own personal experiences rather than from the experience of actually teaching younger learners. To me this is the crux of the problem with education and education policy. Too many people who have no actual experience teaching or researching education use their own experience 40-50 years ago in school as a response or a guide to their thinking about education policy.
In what other profession would we accept 40-year-old data to make decisions? How is it that policy makers, law makers and even pundits on education are accepted as “experts” when they never actually have taught in an elementary classroom?
Let me just say from experience in a classroom in front of 5-7 year old children for the last 20 years; less is more! Children don’t need or appreciate busy walls in the classroom, to me the best classroom displays are children’s work over time, Hopes an Dreams that they can check in on and some simple classroom rules to remind each other how they expect to treat each other.