My husband and I took my dad to a doctor's appointment in New York City. He flew in from Florida because he was set up by a friend of mine to see a master doctor at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Dr. Fuster is world-renowned in the field of cardiology and celebrated for decades. One of his specialties, my dad's nemesis, a leaky Mitral valve in his heart. I was interested to see what was so unique about this doctor. After all, my son was a micropreemie with eleven physicians at one point. My husband and I are well versed in expert medical care versus good medical care.
|Dr. Valentin Fuster with his Muppet Dr. Rooster|
Then Dr. Fuster gave him a physical exam. He listened with his stethoscope to his chest, back, lungs, etc. He spoke, occasionally asking questions. Then he asked my dad to take in a deep breath and blow out as hard and long as he could. While he did this, Dr. Fuster had his ear parallel to his upper chest while watching his lower chest. His stethoscope was in place and his hands were also working his abdomen. He tells his students, "See, listen. Watch this here." He asks my dad to do it again. Same positions. All listening, watching, feeling.
Dr. Fuster, in his lovely Spanish accent, says to his students, "See, you can send out a pulmonary function test and have the results in 4 to 6 weeks. But you can perform the same test this way in just 4 to 6 seconds. And this way is more accurate."
Really it's the opposite of magic. Watch. Listen. Feel. Repeat. Diagnose. Treat. Diagnose. Repeat as needed. That's the magic! This personal, hands-on diagnosis is not only imperative, but the antithesis to standardization.
This is the magic we do as teachers every second of every day! Assessment is ongoing, formative, instinctual, reactive, proactive, and repetitive. All students have different prescriptions. That's the whole point. We cannot standardize education because we cannot standardize children. We cannot standardize medicine because we cannot standardize patients.
Now, there are some commonalities, thank goodness! I'm sure cardiologists must all know how to listen to a human heartbeat and know its functions within normal limits and the common/uncommon abnormalities that have been discovered over the years. Just as similar, educators all need to know how to give information and disseminate it in an effective way that has been proven so over time. They also need to know how to gather information they need to impart from various sources.
Individualization while utilizing common essential questions is our best future for our students. We also need to add in motivation towards finding passion for their goals. Teachers need to work together as professionals to talk, discuss, listen, try, fail, and try again. Working together and designing professional development that is also unique to each teacher is the key to getting that prescription right. It's the art of teaching, and of doctoring!
Big business, politics, and those not in the trenches as educators are deeming the future of education. Hmmmm. People are upset because insurance companies and big business drug companies are deeming the future of medicine. Houston, we may have a problem here.