cc flickr photo by azjd

Tis the season for wish lists.  Yesterday, at lunch, my daughter was adding to her list — pondering the possibilities for gifts.  As I watched her add several items (including an iPhone 5 — not happening), it got me thinking about things I would wish for my chosen profession, education.  Here is my short list:

  1. Teachers Treated as Professionals – this entails many things, but primarily a recognition of the complexity of good teaching.  Understanding students as individuals, and addressing their individual learning needs, is extremely challenging — especially when faced with large class sizes.  Teachers should be expected to stay up to date on current teaching pedagogy and research, but they should also be given the time, and resources, to do this effectively.  This includes a living wage.
  2. Recognition that Good Teaching is not just about Curriculum – while content is important, relationships, connections, and soft skills (i.e. empathy, collaboration, communication, leadership) are critical to the future success of our students.  The current climate of testing and accountability does very little to encourage these essential elements of student success.
  3. Provide Adequate Resources - education should be a priority investment for our country.  Instead, it often appears that the bar of expectations is raised without a subsequent increase in support.  Whether it is time, teacher salaries, class size, counselors, or capital items, many of our schools are operating with painfully inadequate resources.
  4. Stop Talking about the Tests –  if you are a part of the public education system in the United States, you know that it is impossible to escape the emphasis on standardized testing.  Testing drives too many decisions, and monopolizes too much valuable time — especially given the fact that it does nothing to value, or measure, #2 on this list.
  5. Recognize that Poverty is a HUGE factor in Education - not all schools, or communities are created equally.  You can argue about what the role of schools should be in meeting the needs of students, but that does not change the reality that educators must teach the students who walk through the front door (regardless of the baggage they bring with them).  Students who come to school hungry, who fear neighborhood violence, who live in dysfunctional, or absentee, family environments, deserve a quality education.  Providing meaningful learning opportunities requires schools to address the issues that create roadblocks using available resources (see #3).
  6. Less Fear, More Adventure – for students, and educators alike.  Our school systems should foster a sense of adventure, a willingness to experiment.  The appropriate, and meaningful, integration of technology should be seen as an obligation, not something to be overly filtered and blocked.  Teachers should have the freedom to try new things, and students should be given opportunities to pursue personal interests without the looming shadow of concern cast by standardized testing (see #4).

What would be on your education wish list?  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

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  • buistbunch

    The fact that I’m able to respond to your post from school is a shocker (see #6). Teachers need to be given a bit more license and trust to explore what’s available in edtech; not for technology sake, but for the purposes of making the learner’s life simpler, making the learner’s world broader, and the learner’s experiences with us more meaningful in the 21st Century.

  • disqus_UQm2rzIKf0

    Just wrote a wish list on my blog as well. We share some of the same ideas!

  • Keziah

    That’s a nice lists… hope it will all come true :)


  • Evan Grace

    I am currently enrolled in the EDM310 class within the University of South Alabama. Let me start off by saying that I could not agree more. I know as an education student the difficulties of being a true teacher is hard to comprehend, but I do see the the negativity.
    My graduating class size in high school was somewhere in the ballpark of 650. Being part of that large class connects me to number 1 the most. The teachers that worked there varied. It really hurt me to see the teachers, that strove great lengths, received little credit despite of what they achieved. Also, being the political school that it was, it greatly pestered me to see the teachers receive the benefits unjustly given.
    As someone with thoughts as these above, do you have any ideas on how to eliminate this from the educational work place? please respond it would be greatly appreciated!

  • Jamie Grierson

    Mr. Delp,
    I am currently a student at the University of South Alabama and I am also enrolled in the EDM310 class. I definitely agree with your educational wish list. This list of wants is very understandable being in the field of education. On my educational wish list, I would want teachers to be more appreciated. I feel sometimes that teachers are taken for granted and people do not really see all the jobs teachers have to do. Everyone goes to school, so someone has to teach them. Teachers spend more time with their students during the week than their own parents do.

  • Mallory Harris

    Mr. Delp,
    My name is Mallory and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in the EDM310 class. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Your wish list is something that I think all educators should want and strive to achieve for their school systems. On my education wish list, I would want teachers to have more freedom as far as lessons planning with their class. I am going to be an english teacher and I would like to have the freedom with my lesson plans to choose the books my students read and things like that.

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