Did you ever think up this really cool idea for one of your lessons. You were really excited! This was going to be so clear and fun and educational and work perfectly. Of course, you spent time working out the details and thinking through all the THEORETICAL issues that could come up. You launched it.
Most often it didn't work as planned. Various things came up. REALITY set in, and you had to think on your feet. You fixed what you could. If it seemed MORE usable than not, you made notes and adjustments for next time. For me, it usually takes about 3 times through before I work out *most* of the bugs.
But the deal is, it really didn't work as you had planned. But being a teacher, and as important, just being one of you, and knowing you're the expert of your classroom you could adjust quickly and on the fly. And no one has to throw it back in your face and say, "ha! you messed up! double ha!"
But I want to get back to the "didn't work as you had theoretically planned" business. I'm thinking that this is what happened and is happening with all the uppy ups telling us how to teach and what to teach and shoving state assessments down our throats and strategic compensation and whatnot. Because theoretically, that sounds so true and good and seems to make sense: hold people accountable. Hold teachers accountable. Hold students accountable. What could go wrong? People will rise up to the high level of expectation and perform better.
Hah! Reality could go wrong, apparently. Theory is all well and good, but reality is what you have to deal with in the end. And they're such a huge bureaucracy, and they have a "ton more students and classrooms", that how long does it take to adjust their strategy? And how easy/hard is it to admit you've made a mistake when so many people are watching you.
Or maybe I have it all wrong, and "they" are still sitting "up there" saying, "it's all the teachers' faults. If only they'd be better and do what we ask, we'd fix education! A pox on the teachers. Slackers the lot of them. And they get the summers off!"