Nov 04

The Main Thing or Common Core: Oh! The Humanities!


By Julie Rahm

Once a month, I reserve time in my schedule for substitute teaching in our local public schools. I enjoy volunteering in the schools to resolve behavior and learning issues for individual students. Being part of the education experience for a day immerses me in overall classroom issues and offers a more strategic perspective. The best part is the flood of insight that comes to me on how to improve the situation for students, teachers, and staff members.

For example, last week I led an inclusion class of third graders in a common core reading comprehension exercise. They had four pages to complete, each containing a short passage to read followed by two multiple-choice questions on each passage. The students were to choose the statement that best described the main idea of the passage, and to choose the best title for the passage. Here’s what happened…

Each passage had new and tricky words in it. The writers of the worksheets intended to trick the students. Apply your own insight. Don’t take my word for it. If students didn’t know the meaning of a word, they couldn’t remember anything that followed the word. So, if they didn’t pause to look up the definition, they could go no further. Their multiple-choice answers were pure guesses.

Among other issues, students were energetically weak for connecting with school, reading, and answering questions. To resolve the situation for the students, I deleted the mom influences; neutralized the energy in the classroom; strengthened the students for leaving home; resolved karmas among the students and teacher; deleted failure experiences; strengthened the students for connecting with school, reading, answering questions and the reverse of each. Then, I resolved their wants/needs/desires to be doing something else, and strengthened them for effort. They will redo their worksheets today. I expect the experience to be significantly improved.