Key Peninsula Middle School, Lakbay, Wash.
A Teachers’ Work
“Mrs. Borders, my cat has been losing weight and sleeps all of the time. We are taking her to the vet tomorrow and I’m really scared.” These words were shared with me by Kasha, a teary-eyed 6th grade student in my first period science class last week.
I thought, “Wow, it is only 8:15 and I just spent an hour working with my colleagues to understand and talk about the upcoming Smarter Balanced field testing; called the kitchen to let them know I was sending two students down to pick up breakfast because their bus was late; carried strawberries, dishwashing soap, and ice in from my car in the pouring rain for a DNA extraction lab; answered a slew of emails from parents and colleagues; and more. All before the first moment of instruction.
Am I unusual in the multiple demands on my time? No. Many teachers relate to the multiple roles and many requests for time. So, what was most important at this moment? Kasha’s cat. I knew that the higher standards afforded by Common Core State Standards (CCSS) can only happen if the teacher-student relationship is solid. Like all teachers, I genuinely care about my students and their lives, so I talked with Kasha about her cat and helped her focus on the upcoming learning in class.
Does Common Core Really Matter for Science?
As a science teacher, it might seem at first glance that implementing Common Core and participating in the Smarter Balanced field testing this spring are just two more things to add to my already busy schedule. And, it might also seem like since the standards are sorted into English Language Arts/Literacy and Math shifts, that the standards and field testing are superficial for my teaching assignment. Not so on both counts.