“For the times they are a-changin'” applied when Bob Dylan wrote and released them in 1964 and the words still apply today. Some may say they apply more now than even.
Education is at a point where demands have never been higher and stress on both teachers and students are at a breaking point. Strikes across the countries have broken out asking for more pay so teachers no longer have to work three jobs along with being a full time teacher just to pay the bills. College tuition and student loan debts are at an all time high and the scholarship pool is getting more demanding of children. Celebrities are doing what ever it takes to get their child a spot at a premier college while children of immigrants are left not knowing if they can remain in the country once they turn 18.
As a teacher in this world I am always looking for how I can prepare my students the most so they can be successful in the 21st century. Schools are changing to reflect a PLC model that maximizes collaboration and minimizes isolation, standardized assessments rigor are growing each year, proficiency is being redefined regularly, schools are implementing Social Emotional Learning that all teachers need training on, and much more. With all of these changes it can be hard to know what is best to focus on while trying to equip my students for post high school life.
As the 2018-2019 school year is wrapping up I always try and reflect on my highs and lows. While doing some research I came across an article about assessments and the need to bring hope, efficacy, and achievement back to the classroom. In this article I learned about the “COTE of armor” for helping students become their best and must successful selves. C-confidence, O-optimism, T-tenacity, and E-enthusiasm. This article also went on to explain the six tenets of using assessment to build hope, efficacy, and achievement in the classroom which was very intriguing, but I could not stop thinking about this COTE of armor.
While contemplating the state of our country and seeing how heavily divided it is in all areas, I want to find a way to unite people and help my students be the movers and shakers of the next generation. Those four characteristics are not only what is needed in the classroom to be successful, but also in life.
As I move into my summer break I will take the time to prepare myself mentally and physically for another school year. But, I will also spend part of my summer researching ways to instill courage, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm into all of my students. I look forward to sharing my successes and setbacks with you all. I may not master teaching the 21st century student in the 2019-2020 school year, but I will put on my COTE of armor every day; helping educate and prepare our future leaders.