Friday, February 22, 2013

The Common Core: "Digging Deeper"

In January, I promised myself that I would write every Friday, and find something to reflect on. Today, this discipline seems difficult, and the only words that come to my mind are "digging deeper".

Over the last couple of weeks I have witnessed great progress with my students. However, almost everyday I feel like I am way in the deep end of the pool, sitting on the bottom, my legs crisscrossed like a pre-schooler.  I sit there, and then suddenly realize that I will need oxygen soon. So I awkwardly uncross my legs, throw my arms out wide, and struggle to push my way up. Although deep in the water, I can still see the bright sun above, which gives me hope that soon I will breathe again. However, the closer I get to the top, the further it seems. I want to panic. I want to scream. But, I don't. Deep in that water, despite the struggle, I must remain calm, knowing that I will get there, eventually. I will breathe again.

This feeling comes from the common core. I've worked for several months to learn and break apart the standards. Once I broke them apart I had to put them together again like a puzzle, finding ways to integrate them into my lessons everyday. Each strand takes the students and I deeper and deeper into the content.  As a result, the students are seeing progress and they recognize it. They know their reading and writing is improving, and it is thrilling for them and me as their teacher. Although, I feel overwhelmed most days by the simplicity and complexity of the common core, I do believe in the standards. I just have to learn to feel comfortable sitting at the bottom of the deep end of the pool, and continue to dig deep.

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