Yesterday, I did something that twenty years ago would have never happened. I got into a heated disagreement with a college professor who was doing a workshop at my school. She was contracted to work with the teachers on writing before I was transferred to the school. I can't blame the principal who was trying to solve low writing scores in her school. She didn't know that I was the one to write the whole second grade writing curriculum. It does irk me to no end to hear this professor talk about things that I was doing in my own classroom and doing as a specialist for over ten years now. I will admit, it's a little bit of an ego thing. I'm not too proud.
So yesterday, she holds up a piece of student writing and explains that we are going to look at the writing for what the student can do in craft, conventions, and make next steps for instruction. It is a very sound teaching strategy. I am going to let it slide that it goes against the writing curriculum of the district. I was a rebel once in the classroom. I am not the literacy police. Whatever! So she says that first thing that she is going to write is the fact that the student picks his topics independently. Whoa! Do not pass go! Stop all talking! There is no way from looking at a piece of writing to tell if a student picked this topic without any help. Now if you were talking about the student's process throughout the writing workshop and observed this happening, then you can write that down but that was not the object of the exercise. So I challenged her and boy did she not like being challenge! She started arguing with me about it. Saying that if we looked back into his other pieces...wait! Wasn't the exercise objective to look at a piece of writing and observe what a student does in that piece. Maybe I was was just tired, maybe I just spent an insulting hour with her talking to kindergarten teachers about the wonders of read alouds. (REALLY! If they don't know this, I want their certificates now!) I just couldn't take it anymore. She kept arguing with me. Eventually I just basically told her that I wasn't going to argue this point anymore. She didn't like that either. Just because I am not loud and always talking about what I know, does not mean that I know nothing. Just because it doesn't look like I have been teaching for twenty years, does not mean that I know nothing. Just because you have a PHD after your name doesn't necessarily mean that you know more than I do!
Enough now. I have to get ready for work and see if my principal is going to reprimand me for embarrassing the college professor.