Thursday, January 19, 2017

Going Simpler

In Write Shorter, Simpler Standards from  Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher, states,

In fact, sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.”

That is the hardest thing for me. I over-think things and make things more complicated than they should be.

My word for this year is “Simple” and I have to constantly remind myself about this. I have put the word on index cards and tape them in places that I see often.

It seems like many people in the education system tend to make things more complicated than they should be.

I don’t know if they think that complicated looks smarter or better or maybe it is worth more.

I look at contracts for doing business and I’m amazed at how many pages it contains or how complicated the language is. Why can’t people go simpler and say, “I promise to do (blank) for (this amount of money). Isn’t that basically what a contract should say?

Sometimes I try to tell my husband about something and he has to stop me and tell me to just give him the basics first. Then I can expand the story. It reminds me of the old Dragnet TV show where the cop says, “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”

One time I accidentally locked the bedroom door at my house and we had no key for the door. I spent hours trying to pick the lock but with no success. In the evening my husband arrived home and looked at the problem. Within minutes, he popped the molding out from the door with a screwdriver and the opened the door easily. I never thought of that simple solution. Instead I made it complicated by only seeing one answer instead of looking at the big picture. This might have let me see that there was another solution. Instead, I was so focused on that one thing I was unable to solve my problem.

Recently I heard that the students in the self contained classes in my district have to take the ACT, and End of Course testing in Algebra, English, and Biology. It doesn’t matter that the students don’t take those courses and some of them can’t even pass a course that is adjusted to lower levels. Some of these students are lucky to know their addresses and phone numbers. Why are they complicating things? The students don’t need the test for graduation so I wonder what the purpose is.

This makes me wonder if the district is focusing on the one topic of testing but not really understanding the purpose. When people are asked why, the answer is always that “we are told to do it that way.” At what point does the top person accept responsibility and give a good reason for this decision.
I think all of us would be more successful if we could have a simpler life.

What do you do to make life simpler? Please share.


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