I am sweating bricks

I am sweating bricks. (I know the correct word here isn’t sweating, but it’s the closest to how I’m feeling and it’s the most appropriate word I can use in a public forum.)

I am sweating bricks.

Why all the fuss, you ask? Well, we have a new K – 3 curriculum in the works for Alberta schools this fall. It is the worst curriculum I’ve ever encountered in my professional career because not only is it developmentally inappropriate, it is also politically oriented rather than based on accepted and/or innovative pedagogies.

It is the opposite of child centered.

Some parts are directly copied from the discredited Core Knowledge Foundation.

It teaches more US than Canadian history and is apologetic of social inequities and racism.

Many racialized, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ children will not see themselves in it for a variety of reasons, including the sheer enormity of facts we are expected to teach with little time for anything outside the curriculum. Right now, we have some leeway in terms of including other things not in the written curriculum.

So, I am sweating bricks.

The draft curriculum was only piloted by 1% of schools in the province; most school boards refused to pilot for a variety of reasons. Only 5% of teachers support it. There is a vocal parent movement against it. Our provincial professional association is actively opposed to it. Content area experts here have publicly written about all the reasons the draft curriculum, in all subject areas, needs to be scrapped. The few teachers involved in the curriculum review (and, yes, we were overdue for a new curriculum) were served with a gag order as a condition of their involvement in the review process. As soon as it was lifted several of the participating teachers spoke out against the review and the curriculum.

Need I say more?

Maybe that I’m sweating bricks?

I am sweating bricks because I find it morally and ethically reprehensible that I am expected to teach a curriculum that is not only sub-par, but is also insulting and potentially damaging to teachers and children.

I keep hoping that the ministry will come to its senses and #DitchtheDraft, but that is not likely to happen.

As I write this post, the realization that I will have to teach this in September is increasing my anxiety.

So, I am sweating bricks.

But I won’t give up. I will figure out a way to protect my grade 3 students from this horrible curriculum come September.

Any and all ideas for how to do this are welcome, so I can stop sweating bricks.

Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge.

14 thoughts on “I am sweating bricks

  1. I’m sorry. That is just awful. I can’t offer much advice because I teach in a Catholic school in the US. We use the Common Core Standards, but we have a lot of leeway as far as curriculum goes. It saddens me how political education has become.

    I understand. I hear you. I have faith you will do right by your 3rd graders!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rita. Still trying to figure out how this is going to work. I keep hoping the provincial government will magically change hands and someone with a sane mind and kinder heart will say: “Wait! This is not happening!” I can hope, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is terrible! I don’t know how your district works, but I was at a school in a district with bad curriculum–we just closed our doors and did what was right. Also, I want to know more about how Core Knowledge was discredited. CKLA is being adopted here in our area!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Vivian. My plan right now is to close my door and do what’s best for students, but I feel like teachers will be under a great deal of scrutiny since so many of us think the draft should be scrapped, so I worry that I will have less autonomy than is appropriate. The Core Knowledge Foundation is based on teaching facts, and not concepts, about the traditional canon in all areas. When I say it was discredited, I mean that it fails to address big ideas about anything and it has zero diversity in its approach, so it was given a thumbs down by many educators years ago. You may be familiar with the grade level series: What Your Child Should know in Grade X. That comes from Core Knowledge.


  3. Yikes! I feel for you. Friendly wave from a BC neighbour and fellow third grade teacher.
    I know Jason Kenney’s leadership has been contentious. I didn’t know that the new K-3 curriculum would be that awful. And yes, I would be sweating bricks, too.
    Great use of ‘sweating bricks’ as a refrain – it underlies how pervasive your disquiet is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have heard about the new curriculum and I am so sorry that you will have to use it. I am sure that you will find ways to protect your kiddos, though I cannot offer any sound advice. I love the phrase sweating bricks – I know exactly what you mean, and your repetition makes it even more powerful. I’ll be thinking of you – and maybe they’ll repeal it?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. WTF!? Public forum or not, I don’t care. This is bullshit. 😩 My head is spinning after reading this. The idea of teaching more US than Canadian history in Canada is ludicrous, and I will gladly say that to the powers that be as a pissed off American. I think teachers have a moral and ethical responsibility to abstain from curricular violence, which is essentially what the new curriculum is based on your description of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ugh, isn’t it awful when we are told to teach/do things that go against what we believe?! I wish I had words of comfort, but only empathy here. Your students are so lucky to have a thinking teacher in their corner.

    Liked by 2 people

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