When was the last time you checked your tire pressure?
You may have noticed the tagline for TESS Consulting states, “Inflating the tires, not reinventing the wheel”. You may also have wondered what the big deal is. Why focus on tires?
Before that question is answered, consider why we should concern ourselves with tire pressure anyway.
Now that we know how and why to check the tire pressure on our vehicles (beautiful model + steps!), let us consider how this concept pertains to our work at TESS.
Inflating the tires...
Tires can lose pressure over time
Like tires, people can lose steam. Initiatives can lose focus. Projects can deflate. Instruction can go flat. It is difficult to maintain the enthusiasm for the work of planning, teaching and assessing because it is hard work. This is just the way of life.
There is nothing wrong with having the air go out of the sails. It happens. We simply need to recognize that pressure has been lost and do something about it.
It’s the air that carries the load, the tire is the vessel that holds the air
We specialize in Focused Instruction. We believe that any program is held aloft by effective and efficient instruction. The FAST Framework is the vessel that focuses the strengths of the teachers with whom we work. Their knowledge of their content, their knowledge of their students and their personalities are channeled to maximize effectiveness and efficiency.
We use a gauge to check the pressure
Sadly, in many districts and schools, they haven’t identified a gauge that provides actionable information about instruction. An automotive technician would not be considered effective or trustworthy if all he did was walk around the car, kick the tire and remark on how clean the tire looked. It shouldn’t be any different for instruction. Yet, many districts and sites do just that.
We support districts and sites in building capacity of their administrators and teacher leaders to provide actionable feedback on where a teacher’s instruction is losing air, and how to pump that aspect of a lesson back up. Focused Instruction using the FAST frameowrk, like a tire pressure gauge, helps clarify the existing condition and what specifically can be done to improve.
All tires must be checked
For which tires must the tire pressure be correct? All of them. This is the same for teachers. For a school or district to be successful, for all students to achieve optimum academic success, all teachers need feedback on the effectiveness of their instruction. We provide educators with a shared vocabulary and a shared understanding of effective instruction. For a car, having only a fraction of the tires at the proper pressure means the car is not functioning as well as it could. It is the same for a school.
The consequences for ignoring the tire pressure are real
The video tells us that proper tire pressure is “important to maximize tire life, promote fuel economy and contribute to vehicle safety”. We believe that Focused Instruction maximizes teacher effectiveness, promotes economy of instructional minutes and contributes to the optimal learning conditions of all student subgroups, including those that are historically underachieving. Much like tire pressure, the dangers of ignoring the effectiveness of instruction are real and detrimental for students.
...Not reinventing the wheel
Though this part of the slogan might not need explaining, it is important to state that our goal at TESS is to make the lives of educators easier. All too many “solutions” peddled to schools require hours long planning sessions, 3-day institutes, 50 lb. training manuals. We strive to seamlessly complement what is working already at your school site or district. We are talking tires. It shouldn’t require disassembling the engine.