I am one of the lucky teachers who had the opportunity to live and teach internationally for 12 years. Along with being a part of the U.S. educational system, I caught a glimpse of the disciplined dedication to study in some other locations. However, always within my possession was my passport, my proof of home.
I was reminded of this as I sat in a small veterans memorial park where Vermont’s White River meets the Connecticut. I watched the deep blue sky cloud over as strong breezes rolled in from distant mountains. A sculpture of five geese in various stages of flight overlooking the rivers stood as a monument to our veterans.
“By this dedication, we honor and pay tribute to those who have left their homes in Hartford and elsewhere to protect our freedom, our way of life, and this great country.” The five geese each representing one of the U.S.’s armed service divisions — the Air Force, U.S. Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and the Navy — reminded me of our call and responsibility as teachers.
CCSS and the global landscape
We’ve heard quite a bit about the need for the Common Core State Standards due to the changing global landscape. Statistics reveal that U.S. students are falling behind their international counterparts. While examining the statistics, we can make excuses because of the way students are measured or the type of students studied.
But aside from the statistics, we want to echo the U.S. Army slogan of the ’80s and ’90s to “Be All We Can Be.” To do this, we need to go deeper into the content; we need to become more disciplined in our study; and we need to provide quality opportunities for all children.
Go deeper, develop discipline, provide excellence for all children
The CCSS asks teachers to draw students deeper into content. We can no longer allow students to skim the surface of learning. Young people need to become experts and use the language of the content areas to examine and analyze information.
To accomplish this, students need to develop discipline in their studies. We know from studying those who have become experts, that they did it by developing a finely tuned sense of self-discipline in their field. Mixed with the knowledge that all students have the potential to learn, we need to find paths to help all children grow and learn. This is the challenge before us.
Teachers answer the call to serve
Are teachers called to serve? Compared to those in the armed services, we are asked a small price. Across our nation, flags fly freely proclaiming our rights, privileges, and responsibilities. The call to serve does not promise that the way will be easy. The call does not promise that we will have everything we need to complete our task. It does not even promise that we will be safe.
But as we answer the call, let us be ready to “Be All that We Can Be” and go deeper into content with students, help them to develop discipline in their study, and find ways to create a rigorous and engaging path for every student under our care.
With over 35 years in administration and teaching in K-12 and higher education both in the U.S. and internationally, Dr. Nancy Cardenuto strives to cultivate creative and innovative learning paths. She is an adjunct professor in the master’s program at Concordia University – Portland, where she teaches courses in support of the Common Core State Standards.