This past year I have noticed a trend about mustaches. There are mustache stickers, cups with mustache sayings, fake mustaches, and even mustache straws for drinks. Mustache gimmicks seem to be one of the many popular items sold currently. Education is not much different. There is always the 'latest, greatest' teaching strategy to hit the educational mainstream. Intentional teaching, whole language, word walls, iPads, direct instruction, precision teaching, close reading, STEM or STEAM, and many more, are all educational trends that have occurred during my teaching career. Everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon and provide instructional support because you must teach that way to be effective. Now, each of these strategies have good principals, but what many educational trends tend to forget is the individual teacher doing the teaching. While one instructional practice may work well for one teacher, it may not be effective for another teacher. Many factors could be responsible for that scenario, but chief among them must be the teacher's personality and teaching style and the personality of the group of children in her care.
I actually love new trends because in those educational strategies I always find some valuable tips that I can use in my own teaching. I do believe that good teaching practices come from numerous sources. When I see a teacher only using one teaching strategy, I worry that there are children in the classroom that will not be reached or supported in their learning. A variety of teaching methods must be used by teachers to create the optimal learning environment. Implementing new teaching strategies can be exciting and engaging. I try to enjoy it as I build an atmosphere of engagement and fun in learning.
I mention this today because I am in classrooms weekly and hear the discouragement of teachers as they try to implement the latest trend. Yes, it is a challenge and far too much is expected of all teachers. But, since we can't control which trend will be current, all I can say is use the best parts to improve teaching and increase engagement and then follow my grandchildren and me in the attached photo. Put on the 'stache' and have fun!