When administrative teams and school boards sign up with Curriculum Trak and begin formulating a plan for roll-out, the temptation is to be aggressive with expectations.

This is understandable. The invoice to Curriculum Trak has been paid, and there is a strong desire to get the most bang for your buck as soon as possible. This approach, while well-intended, can have diminishing returns.

If teachers are expected to complete large portions of their course maps in a short amount of time (like a summer or a semester), then they are already being trained that curriculum mapping is not really for their benefit, but for someone else’s benefit (like the administrator, curriculum coordinator, or board member). Teachers are smart. They’ll view the mapping as “checking a box” and will “check out” when you tell them mapping will make them a better teacher. They’ll view the process as merely compliance.

Changing the culture is the goal. When a school begins mapping, the approach should be slow. In order for the culture shift to begin, expectations for completion of mapping fields should be more than reasonable, and should err on the side of giving more than enough time.

Here is an example. Administration would roll out a field (assessments, for example) and then hold an in-service in which teachers begin reflecting on what assessment is and how they can do better in their unit assessments. Then teachers would begin the process of mapping assessment practices in their specific units. There would be necessary collaboration. Administration could then follow-up with how the mapping of assessments improved any of their units. This one field could take a year to complete.

With this method, teachers will begin to value the mapping journey. The culture will begin to shift. Teachers will begin to realize that mapping benefits them. In addition, parents and community members will observe reflective teachers who care about their work, but who above all care for the precious children and young people in their care.

Photo by Marília Castelli on Unsplash

Kyle Bruinooge is a teacher and curriculum director at Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, MI. He has taught several different subjects and grade levels over the past twenty years. He has a passion for curriculum mapping, curriculum and teacher development, teacher mentorship programs, as well as a strong conviction for Christian education. He loves to discuss and consult with schools on their own journey, and provide various levels of assistance to them along the way. His website is: https://kbruinooge.wixsite.com/kb-consulting.