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Professional In-Service: Short Course

Publication Date: 2010-11-11

This poem "Revolution for the Tested" is from Kate's Book Blog, and of course it is a great sentiment. But ask yourself, who is telling a student this? Can a teacher who drills her students on the 5-paragraph theme then entreat them not to write "formulaic paragraphs?" Maybe it's a little too easy to agree with a break-free-of-restraints message for students. Try rewriting "Write" as "Teach," a message on how you'd want the teacher of children you care about to teach.

Revolution for the Tested, by Kate Messner


But don't write what they tell you to.
Don't write formulaic paragraphs
Counting sentences as you go
Put your pencil down.

Kate Messner has requested that her complete poem not be posted here but that you read it at her blog.

Revision for the Teacher, by Susan Ohanian


But don't teach what they tell you to.
Don't mouth formulaic phrases
Counting days till you retire
Put your red pencil down.

Don't teach following the script.
As a weary practitioner not making waves,
Handing out points for main ideas
Supported by examples
From the carefully selected text.

Teach for your students.
TEACH-- because until you do,
They will never understand
What it means to learn
Or who they can be.

And teach for the world.
Because your voice is important.
Teach because children are hurting
Because children are dying
Because there is injustice
That will never change if you don̢۪t.
Teach because it matters.

And know this.
They'll tell you it won̢۪t make a difference,
Tell you not to challenge corporate rules,
Tell you just to follow their script
And leave it at that.
You tell them you know the truth.
That teaching is powerful.
What students are taught
Speaks loudly.
And not only can a chorus of those informed change the world.
It is the only thing that ever has. . . .

And know this.
They'll say they want what's best for children,
That data doesn't lie.
Tell them you know the truth.
What students have been taught
Can't be trapped in tiny bubbles.
It's not about points
On a chart or a test or points anywhere.
And it never will be.

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