Greetings to our dedicated community of educators! Today, we’d like to share a powerful experience from our CEO, Cathy Tooley, that resonates deeply with many of us here at Tools for Success and the educators we serve. This story not only reflects a common challenge faced by educators but also offers valuable insights and best practices for teachers navigating similar situations.

Cathy’s passion for teaching was epitomized in her love for John Steinbeck’s The Pearl. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read it, or maybe it’s been a few years, the central theme of The Pearl is that true wealth lies not in material possessions but in the intangible aspects of life – family, community, and peace, Each year, Cathy eagerly anticipated teaching this book to her freshman class, complete with an elaborate pearl-themed bulletin board and interactive character development activities. After many years of teaching The Pearl, state standards changed, and the book was reassigned to the sophomore curriculum. Cathy faced a difficult decision: to let go of her beloved teaching tradition or to adapt and find a new “pearl” within her designated curriculum. As many educators can relate, Cathy was disappointed to let go of one of her favorites, and like you, her heart for serving her students directed her to let go of the old and create something new in order to set her students up for success.

Five Tips for Educators Facing Curriculum Changes:

  1. Stay Aligned with State Guidelines: Understand the importance of following your state’s curriculum standards and the role they play in setting up your students for success. These guidelines are like a highway, providing the path for what needs to be taught at each grade level to ensure students continue to grow and learn.
  2. Embrace the Challenge of Rigor: If your students are excelling, rather than advancing them prematurely to higher-level material, increase the rigor within your current curriculum. This approach maintains alignment while still challenging your students.
  3. Provide Necessary Supports: For students who are experiencing challenges with the curriculum, ensure you are providing and/or engaging the necessary support systems to help them engage with the grade-appropriate material, rather than resorting to simpler texts that do not meet curriculum standards.
  4. Let Go of Personal Favorites for Your Students’ Sake: Sometimes, educators must set aside personal preferences or beloved teaching materials with their students’ best interest at heart and in favor of what aligns with current curriculum standards. This requires flexibility and a willingness to discover new “pearls” in teaching.
  5. Foster Continuous Growth and Innovation: Use these moments of change as opportunities to explore new texts, adapted beloved teachings to new state standards, integrate cross-curriculum training into an old lesson, develop fresh teaching strategies, and engage students in innovative ways. As teachers we know, continuous growth is key to effective teaching. 

Cathy’s story of “The Pearl” serves as a powerful reminder of the dynamic nature of education. As educators, it’s essential to adapt, innovate, and stay aligned with educational standards while maintaining our passion for our students and their education. By embracing these best practices, we can effectively navigate changes and continue to provide our students with enriching educational experiences.

Stay tuned for more stories and insights from our team at Tools for Success. We’re here to support you every step of the way in your educational journey.

If you’re looking for more ideas, inspiration, and tips between now and our next blog visit Tools for Success YouTube Channel!

Warm regards,

Tools for Success Team