Grant Wiggins | What’s my job?

Grant Wiggins explores the ‘real’ job description for teachers. He argues that he only ever applied for jobs framed in terms of content-area, not to do with learning. Danielson developed a framework that answers some questions about what it is to be a good teacher:

  1. Planning and preparation
  2. The classroom environment
  3. Instruction, and
  4. Professional responsibilities

A good framework, but Wiggins argues that it only summarises the tasks a teacher is expected to perform and, like all measures we use to evaluate quality teaching, focuses on what teachers are supposed to do, rather than what they are supposed to accomplish.

An alternative could be to use these three results-focused responsibilities:

  1. Cause successful learning related to school, program and course goals.
  2. Cause greater interest in the subject and learning than was there before
  3. Cause greater confidence, feelings of efficacy, and intellectual direction in learners.

This approach calls into question the good faith but inappropriate view of the job: to cover content by touring the textbook. So what role do learning materials play in the real job description of teachers? Ask these questions:

  • What chapters are central to my goals, the schools vision and our standards?
  • Whaich chapters are not vital?
  • Which chapters can be skipped?
  • What must I do to supplement the text in order to achieve my goals, the schools vision and our standards?

Being a teacher outside the classroom:
The great scandal in K-12 education is that almost every K-12 system is not a system at all. High School teachers in history rarely score papers or discuss writing with teachers of English. The K-12 system will only be truly systematic if the following happens:

  • Teachers of all grades write curriculum together
  • Teachers of all grades score student work together
  • Teachers are required as team members to issue team reports each semester to the rest of the K-12 faculty on what worked, what didn’t, and what will be done to imporve learning.

Collaboration must be a requirement of the job, not an option.

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