Mottos are sayings to stick by. They help define and shape us. They help us put stakes in the ground about what we believe, in hopes to live out those beliefs in our practice. I live by the motto: what matters is what counts & what counts is what matters. I live by that saying because we know, whether personal or professional, when we decide something matters, we tend to make it count for something. Conversely, when we say something counts, we typically are saying it matters.
In education today, I think we can get a little lost in matching what matters and what counts. Here’s what I mean:
- Some say they believe in teachers and they are the most important driver in a child’s educational journey, but then they buy scripted programs to serve their needs instead of relying on the teacher’s intuition and knowledge.
- Some say they believe in balanced literacy, but then they purchase a program that creates an imbalance in the balanced literacy approach.
- Some say they don’t heavily rely on state testing and test prep, but then they buy big books and use up valuable instructional time for kids to practice test-like problems.
- Some say (and back it up with research) that kids need access and time for independent, choice reading during the school day, but then never really create a school schedule/time study to know that they haven’t given anything up to make that actually happen.
If I continued the list I’d risk sounding like a pessimistic person. In my work, it's my job to support organizations and individuals as they match beliefs with action-oriented practices. When we do so, we put stakes in the ground about what matters for our students. And if we put those beliefs into practice, we gain clarity about what really counts. As a result, statements start to sound like this:
- Teachers are the most important driver in a child's educational journey; therefore, we will rely on teachers' knowledge of content and students to plan engaging and compelling curricula that meets the interests, passions and needs of their students.
- Balanced literacy is a top priority; therefore, we won't purchase a program that steals time away from or competes with the components of balanced literacy.
- State tests are only one measure; therefore, we will not waste instructional time or resources to purchase test prep materials.
- Kids need time for independent, choice reading during the school day; therefore, we will study the time we have and build a schedule that prioritizes independent reading where students choose what and how they read for the sake of reading.
Want to learn more, contact me and set up a time to discuss opportunities. Together, we can figure out what matters and what counts!