Our district has a TOSA-teacher on special assignment-who is now our district curriculum expert. Unfortunately she doesn’t know curriculum beyond elementary school level. Yet she is the expert, the one making recommendations for high school content courses in math, science, language arts, foreign languages, social studies and vocational programs. And yet if you ask her about the state standards (since there aren’t any national standards are there?) she cannot tell you anything about them without looking them up and reading from the actual standards, making comments like “Oh that is interesting. I didn’t know that. Hmm. . .not sure what that means” and we are to follow her lead?
I think not. Having spent the last 20+ years teaching content outside of my natural training–but I have taken the prerequisite courses and have certification on my teaching license for all content areas I teach; the standards were the first thing I learned when given a new content area to teach, or a new course or a new teaching assignment. The benchmarks, the assessments, the content have always been standards-based.
Speaking out, asking questions, seeking information for her decisions have only net a label of trouble maker, pressure to remove oneself from content and curriculum work and frustrations beyond dealing with unmotivated, undisciplined students and their parents. However, the best part is I know the standards so whatever text or teaching materials given to me will be adapted to meet those standards without even missing a beat.
Curriculum expert? Nope.