"Well, it's not really me that's using the pencils. It's the students, so would you mind if I allowed them to be a part of this discussion?"
"Well, we noticed that you have an hour of weekly drawing time. How do you justify it?" he asks with a smug grin.
"I do. I believe creativity is a valuable skill. The district said so themselves just recently," I added.
"We have worksheets designed for creativity. Besides, we're looking for problem solving creativity, not drawing." he adds.
"Yes, but I have my students use writing to solve problems in PBLs and solve problems in math. They use the pencil and paper with their lab reports from science and I try and begin with inquiry . . . "
"We are concerned about the academic nature of using pencils in such a way. Our worksheets are designed with best practices in mind. They are scientifically proven to work. Would you trust a doctor who tried to insert blood instead of using leeches?"
"It seems to me that you say you want creative and imaginative teachers. You want us to think outside the box and then you get angry when we don't have students follow your rigid curriculum."
"There's flexibility in it. Read the Teacher Workbook. Each lesson has at least three Extension Activities you can consider."
"Can you tell me something honestly? In art class, do you give kids a canvas and paints and then tell them they have to only paint by number? In PE do you hand kids a ball and tell them every child must play the same position?"
"Look, we paid good money for Pencil Island and Jonestown Intervention. We want to get our money's worth on the investment."
As I leave, I fail to say what is going through my mind: What if we stopped investing in curriculum and started investing in our children's minds?