This Sunday I was reading the local paper and I was kind of confused. The majority of the front page of a large newspaper in the state was dedicated to a story about goats. Now I know the story was more than just about goats, but if you looked quickly at the page all you would see is goats. Tucked into the upper right corner was a small blurb about what many would think is a minor event, because there was not much space dedicated to this story so it must not be important. That story was just about the 10,000 suspected dead due to the recent typhoon. Apparently a story about goats was more important than a story about 10,000 possibly dying due to a major storm.
Now lets transfer this to the classroom. When people make observations about a classroom they expect that what is taking up the most of the time or the grade is the most important aspect. But is this always true? If students are our focus in the classroom, do they take up most of the time or are we taking up the majority of the time and giving them whatever time remains? When grading a paper, where do we put our focus as far as points? Do we focus on the content or on the presentation style? Do we care about what they say or do we care about how they say it?
I understand that the story that the paper put front and center was one they had worked on for a bit and it was their own story, not a national news story that was breaking news. They had ownership over that story, so they felt it was the main thing that should go on the front page. The decision to do that has big implications. Just like the decisions that a teacher makes about what to spend the most time on during class. That becomes the focus and that may not always be the best thing to be the focus. We should always be aware of how students will view what is important in class, is it the thing that takes up 5 minutes or the thing that takes up 20 minutes?