Sometimes you just have to ask

Guest blog by Kat Rangel, NC Principal Fellow

Educators feel constrained by the rules and regulations that cover almost everything in public education. We have always had DPI rules and state policy mandates, but now we also have fewer resources, higher class sizes, mandatory testing, bell schedules, morning duties, and more diverse student bodies. When teaching seems overwhelming, the virtue of imagination can lead to solutions and successes.

At a high school I worked at the math teachers didn’t have time to work one-on-one with my ESL students. They said, “How can I teach Algebra to ‘Jose,’ if his English is weak and I speak no Spanish?”

As the ESL teacher, I set out to find a solution. I emailed the math and Spanish departments at our local university. Their response was to send Spanish-speaking math majors, and math-speaking Spanish majors, to work with our ESL Algebra students.  The math teachers hadn’t thought to ask.

Testing is now a focus in many schools. All the world stops for TESTING. As coordinator of our school’s ACCESS tests, I needed proctors.  I decided not to ask my colleagues to give up their planning periods. Instead, I contacted a nearby retirement community and ended up with more volunteers than I needed. Somebody just had to ask.

To paraphrase Bishop Michael Curry, in a world where we ask too often “why?” you have to have the imagination to ask “why not?”


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