We asked that question to educators at all of our summer conferences and received about 2,000 responses. So, I’ve been spending a little bit of time reading what these educators had to say about what matters to them in just one simple sentence.
The context was around education and work, rather than personal lives, so I put the sarcastic (happy hour on Friday!), the personal (my wife, my family, my golden retriever), and the downright strange (Star Trek, saving drowning kittens, and rather worryingly — completely blank) to one side.
I was then able to focus on what matters to them as educators. I put the responses into two main categories:
- Heartfelt – The art of teaching
- Data Driven – The science of teaching
Heartfelt dominated significantly – like 10 to 1. It’s never good to jump to conclusions when analyzing data (as we know only too well), and there are a few factors to consider. First is job category: quite a few of the respondents added their school and title. In this category, the teachers dominated the heartfelt, and the specialists or District Office folks were much more about the data.
Here were some of their statements:
What Matters to You?
- Students! Making sure we are providing everything possible to prepare them for life! – South Carolina
- Helping all students realize they can learn – Arkansas
- Inspiring students – Texas
- That every student feels important – Rhode Island
- Encouraging lifelong learners – California
On the other side, we have the Data Driven group, who had statements like this:
What Matters to You?
- Data-driven instruction – Illinois
- Relevant, timely data to focus on personalized learning – Michigan
- Timeliness of the data review and next steps – Texas
- Being able to get accurate progress data quickly a few times a year – Nebraska
- Collecting authentic data – Nevada
I can safely say that NWEA cares deeply about both the science and the art of education. We are all about Measuring What Matters. But it’s always worth asking — and then listening — to the important question… “What matters to you?”
We’re interested in your answers – in fact, we’re running a contest about it. Winners will be picked each month and receive a Formative Assessment Classroom toolkit. Just share what matters to you on our contest page, and you’ll be automatically entered to win.