A while back I came across an Edutopia article, The Teacher Curse No One Wants to Talk About, by Christopher Reddy. The first line in the article reads “Knowledge is a curse.” I thought, "What?! No way!" Of course, I had to read on.
The article went on to share that all of our acquired knowledge makes it difficult to remember a time when we didn’t know what we know now. (My colleague, Cierra Johnson, also touches on this when she compares learning CLASS to learning how to drive.) As a result of all this knowledge, it can “... make us blind to the lengthy process of acquiring it.” If you have been delivering CLASS training for quite awhile now, or even actively implementing CLASS, it can be easy to forget the time spent learning the complexity of the tool.
How can the curse manifest itself in our trainings? If I personally reflect, one detriment is that I was probably making Day 1 of a CLASS Observation training more challenging to facilitate, and possibly overwhelming the participants. Why is that?
Day 1 is full of content. We take the tool apart dimension-by-dimension, with the goal of putting it all back together again at the end of the day. You know, that moment when we finally arrive at Training Video 1. When I was a rookie trainer, I moved much more quickly through dimensions than I do now. Now, if I’m not careful, I won’t even make it to training video 1, our goal for ending the first day of Observation training. What is happening? Well, I know way more about CLASS now than I did in my early training days. I’m filling the day with too much information. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to not know anything about CLASS! It’s the curse of knowledge.
I need an intervention! How can I lift this Day 1 curse of knowledge?
Here is my 7-step self-help plan:
By acknowledging my well-intentioned drive to impart all I know about CLASS to my participants, I can look at the awesome responsibility of Observation Training in a fresh new light. My curse of knowledge has been (well, mostly) lifted! So, enjoy Day 1, and trust that you still have Day 2 to fill in the gaps!
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.
As we head into elections, I've been crafting a story to share with my local legislators. I want to let them know the many glorious reasons why they need to fund early childhood education.
Everyone knows stories matter, so as I stared at my blank piece of paper I found myself wondering:
Reliability testing is stressful? Right? Right! Especially when you are an Affiliate Trainer, and you must pass the test to maintain trainer status! So you want to make sure that you’re doing the best you can. You study for the test, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, and lock yourself in your office with your manual, score sheets, and pencils in hand. (Steaming hot cup of coffee or tea is optional).