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Even Masters Make Mistakes…Why Honest Dialogue about the Common Core Matters

February 21, 2014

One of the major goals of BetterLesson’s Master Teacher Project is to break down the walls (both literal and figurative) that all too often isolate teachers. As teachers around the country transition to the Common Core, this mission is more critical than ever. There is a ton of buzz, both positive and negative surrounding the Common Core. The ruckus has gotten so loud, that just last week Bill Gates weighed in, writing an op-ed defending the standards and dispelling the many myths surrounding them.

Teachers are at the center of this maelstrom. Some work in school districts where they are fortunate to receive sufficient Common Core training and support, while others work in districts where their efforts to tackle the curriculum are handicapped by lack of resources, hostile outside groups…the list goes on and on.  Regardless of their situation, no teacher should have to weather the shift to the Common Core alone.

No one illustrates this fact better than Marisa Laks, a geometry teacher in New York City. Marisa, a Master Teacher sharing a year-long, Common Core aligned course on CC.BetterLesson, was recently profiled in ChalkbeatNY.  New York City has been at the center of much of the Common Core debate, and Marisa is honest in sharing that the transition has not been perfectly smooth. As students grapple with the rigor required by the Common Core, they often get stymied and frustrated; keeping students motivated can be a challenge. Marisa remains optimistic, and is excited by the growth she has seen in her students.

Marisa is fortunate to be working with a cohort of Master Teachers from around the country, many of whom have faced similar challenges. By sharing their lessons, and their authentic reflections, these teachers are demystifying the shift to the Common Core. Working in a vacuum, Marisa or any teacher, could easily grow disheartened.  CC.BetterLesson offers unique insight into the practicalities of teaching the Common Core. Master Teachers like Marisa don’t whitewash their struggles, because they know that their honest reflections will help teachers in similar situations. We hope that teachers coming to CC.BetterLesson will find they are not alone in this tricky time of transition, and find a friend in the BL Master Teachers.

by Christine Glandorf; BetterLesson Project Associate

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