You choose, you lose! Or Do You?

I was listening to a pod cast recently and the presenter suggested that choosing your battles does not mean ignoring the problem.  I identified with this quote on so many levels.  As a classroom teacher, many people will give you oodles of advice and the most prolific statement that a veteran teacher will say is choose your battles.  I struggle with what this means on so many levels because it is such a weighted statement.  When we, as educators, see students misbehaving or acting out of character, we are compelled to say something.  Many times, we weigh what saying something means to the overall situation. 
You ask yourself, Will the student react poorly? Will he/she get upset?  Is this situation related to something other than the classroom? 
All of these scenarios cloud your judgement, and many times your solution is to leave it alone.  This becomes a staple for many teachers because its easier to just note the issue than to actually address the issue.  However, whats easiest is not always best. 
Once this situation mushrooms into a larger problem, our parents or administrators ask pivotal questions.  One of those questions is How long has this issue been going on?
As you think back on the student, you realize that its been a constant issue for some time.  And you also note that ignoring the behavior the first, second or third time didnt correct the problem, it actually enhanced it. 
The phrase, choosing your battles, means much more to me after becoming a teacher.  I realize that in making a choice to fight the battles that students present, it doesnt mean choose to fight some and ignore the others.  What it truly means is weigh the outcome and then make your decisions accordingly. 

As a veteran teacher, I am learning daily as well.  I realize that more battles are won when they are addressed.  So in essence, address the problem in the most professional way, but when working with children ignoring it doesnt usually make it go away!  

No Longer a Novelty, but the Norm…

Once upon a time, working with students in leveled groups and using differentiated instruction set one teacher apart from another.  This skill was not practiced by all teachers, and those that did engage in this type of instruction became the model classrooms, having teachers from far and wide stop in to see what the practice entailed.  As times have changed and students and 21st Century classrooms have evolved, these practices are considered best practices and they are no longer novelties, but normal classroom procedures.  Ask yourself, is differentiated instruction the norm in my classroom?  I encourage you to step back and observe your best practices.  Are you updating your skills?