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Pandemic Pacing

Updated: Feb 27

Working hard going nowhere?

Why are we acting like this is a normal school year? Seriously, teachers everywhere would like to know! Especially in mathematics this pacing issue has become a really sticky situation.

Why have we not adjusted local pacing guides to allow for students to master material in the virtual environment? I fear that all this “fly by teaching” and “assigning asynchronous work” and “covering” standards rather than actually teaching them is going to have as much of a negative impact on our students’ progress as school closures.

You can work so hard to do something the wrong way and still end up with nothing. If you have kids that have not mastered prerequisite skills they will need to master grade level skills, why would you continue to try to teach above their level? Would you expect kids to learn to run before they can stand on their own two feet? Don’t our kids deserve to be able to stand on their own two feet? Do we teach students or a pacing guide?

Seriously, if students don’t know their letter sounds in third grade, would we keep throwing third grade books at them and wonder why it’s taking them so long to learn to read that third grade book? As an administrator, would you tell your teachers, it’s time to move on…they can’t do letter sounds forever? If you would, why would you? Are you ok with giving up on kids? Is moving on before mastery even teaching? Or is it just performing?

Why aren’t we stopping to figure out what is holding students back? Honestly, once you know what it is, and you address it, kids tend to grow ridiculously fast. Instead we make CHOICES not to differentiate and individualize for student need to try to keep up with a pacing guide. Why?! They will fail the test when you push them through just like they might fail if you take the time. But if you invest the time they will have the chance to be successful at some point! If we keep dragging them along without meeting their needs, WE fail THEM. If we don’t INVEST the time, we are telling kids they are not worth it.

If kids are not learning, we are not teaching. If we are working so hard and kids are not learning, we have to make some changes.

Guess what, when I work with students doing remediation in 5th grade, I’m not just teaching 5th grade. I go back and fill those first grade holes. The misconceptions or missed learning opportunities in primary grades show up in grades 3-5. Kids that fail their yearly standardized test didn’t start failing in third grade. Why don’t we address these gaps?

Is it because we don’t see the gaps? Is it because we don’t understand the content ourselves? Is it because we don’t understand how to deliver the content so that students truly understand and own their learning? Is it a combination of all of these?

I know what I think. And I think we are doing this to ourselves and it doesn’t have to be this way. What do you think? What are your experiences with pandemic pacing?

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