When Pacing was a Concern…

Dates. Names. Details. Facts. No debates. No discussion. Just dates, names, and details. This is how history was (and probably still is) taught. Due to the expectation of the state testing, teachers had to follow the strict pacing guide in order to ensure that students will absorb the necessary information to pass the tests. Thankfully, things are slowing changing because of Common Core.

Even so, I’m still faced with the struggle of quality and quantity of topics as a history teacher. My department has been flexible and accommodating to the new expectations of CCSS; we are adjusting our pacing and tests almost weekly to emphasize the quality of information rather than the quantity, which has been a big stress reliever.With testing season upon us (CAHSEE this week, SBAC next week, then SBAC again in May), I can’t help but worry that I won’t be able to cover all the major topics with my students. What if I let my juniors out into the world without understanding how various minority groups began to achieve civil rights? What if my sophomores are forever left wondering about the conflicts in the Middle East? What if they get into a historical conversation about something I never taught them and they curse me as their teacher? Ok, so that’s mildly dramatic, but I still worry.

As I’m writing down all my worries, I’m realizing that my job as their teacher is not to teach them every historical event that has ever happened; I don’t even know about every historical event ever. All that I can do is to get them passionate about history so that when they are interested or curious about a topic, they’ll look it up themselves. I’m sure I’m not the first teacher to feel this way and I doubt I will be the last.

But its still a tough thing to accept that I will not be able to cover every major topic that I want in my content area.


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