Smoke ’em if you got ’em

I’m freshly back from a conversation with a site principal who shared her frustration with a teacher who currently refuses to use our student information system-based marks reporting system for generating report cards.cigarette advertisement showing a doctor smoking

We are in the second year of implementing this new SIS, and for nearly all of our 450 teachers, the new system has meant an improvement in their work life.  The time required for preparing report cards has decreased, and the ability of staff to access electronic grade records in a longitudinal fashion has provided the means to much more robust tracking of individual student performance, and the opportunity for children to slip through the cracks has greatly diminished.

So what exactly is the problem here?  For that tiny minority of teachers who cannot align their practice to a changing professional environment, it seems any shift in their work landscape is a threat to their personal and professional integrity.  I would like to go out on a limb here and question this kind of “integrity,” not to mention this particular version of “professionalism.”

As an ed tech guy, I have wrapped my professional life around the idea of a changing professional landscape.  Change is good for me and what I do each day.  I have also had to balance my affection for change with advice from my internal counsel: classrooms full of children or adolescents are not places that work well with constant change.  That said, over the long haul the kids in those classrooms have exhibited dramatic change, so we have a professional responsibility to adapt to the clients we serve.

While meeting with this principal, it occurred to me that sixty years ago, doctors were recommending their patients smoke cigarettes, the commercial below from 1949 made even as the latest research from the previous ten years indicated smoking is a health disaster.

Are we at a point in the teaching profession of just such a collision between the reality our students are living and a minority teacher culture demanding we cling to a destructive perception of the classroom?


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