Driving for winter conditions. Huh?

Today, I drove with my son two hours, one way, on winter roads in order to access health care. The conditions were certainly not as bad as in the photo above. However, we had some blowing snow, some compact snow and ice, and changing temperatures.

As we began our return journey, I saw a digital sign which exhorted us not to drink and drive, and also to drive for winter conditions. I wondered why the sign couldn’t be more explicit. The City of Prince George is assuming that people know what driving for winter conditions actually means. I understand that it seems self-evident that this means people should slow down and create more space between themselves and other users of the road, but I actually think some people don’t really know. How many times have I seen a vehicle tailgating a logging truck, which is spewing wet sand and snow, kilometre after kilometre. They aren’t there waiting to pass. They stay there the whole way between towns. Their windshield wipers are going like mad and they can’t see anything but the back of that truck. They are wasting windshield washer, at least, and will be in a collision if the truck hits a moose, at worst.

Situations like these remind me that common sense doesn’t exist. Only learning does.

Information only becomes common by being shared. I should phone the city and ask them to change the sign to Don’t drink and drive, please don’t tailgate, slow down, watch for ice in shaded areas.

Don’t risk other people’s lives. How about that one? Some of them, (and now, I am just expressing some personal rage), need to be told not to pass on a double-freaking line on a friggin’ hill. Seriously.

I have assumed too frequently that students understand the vocabulary I use in my instruction. One time, I asked the question, What conclusions can you draw? As I wondered around the classroom, students asked me what picture it was they were supposed to draw.

As a teacher, I have made the serious mistake of not making learning outcomes or product expectations clear. This led to projects and assignments that were a flat-out waste of everyone’s time and almost worthless as an assessment.

Fortunately for me, I have a wonderful network of colleagues and access to quality professional development. I have learned, and continue to learn about formative assessment, so that strong pedagogy becomes common in my classroom.

When we construct learning expectations together, we make them common. When students engage in assessing their own performance, these learning outcomes are again made explicit.

Then, we can ‘drive for success’.