(Originally posted on Communicate, Coach, Care: The Central Purpose.)
Education is known for its pendulum swinging. Trends come and go. Curriculum materials are born and die out. Those of us who have been in the profession for a while know that what we do is about people, not programs. (Todd Whitaker) We do what is best for kids, not what feels most comfortable for adults. We can all become too comfortable, causing stagnation and acceptance of status quo. Our kids deserve better than the status quo. They deserve for us to brand a school culture that fosters innovation, creativity, and independence. You know the old saying, “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.” This simple, yet complicated phrase lingers in my mind as I consider things I may be holding onto so tightly that it is causing me to let go of opportunities to make a bigger difference. Think of the following “what ifs…”
- What if we still had to use overhead projectors as our main means of sharing with students?
- What if all students in elementary school still learned out of the same basal reader, no matter where they were in their reading development?
- What if we had the one room schoolhouse environment where kids ages 6-16 were in the same room exposed to the same materials?
What about project based learning? Why do we continually separate subject areas in school when our goal is to show kids that what we teach blends in real life? Shouldn’t we integrate more and provide more real world situations for our kids to help prepare them for thinking flexibly, problem solving, and most importantly…life? PBL is an interdisciplinary approach to provide learning opportunities for kids in ways that will help them relate to our world. The Common Core has addressed this, and suggests an integrated approach to teaching the subjects in a self contained setting through grade 5. This is a great start, but the way we have always done it has built a roadblock in our thinking. What can we do to integrate other subject areas into the core?
I challenge you this week to evaluate your status quo. Think about what changes you have made in your instructional practices over this school year. Is there something you need to let go of because it is the way you have always done it? We are all victims of this toxic phrase, not only in our professional lives but in our personal lives as well. Learn something new this week. Innovate. Dream. Take action. You will feel empowered when you do. Guess who will benefit the most from your actions…your KIDS! You will feel empowered as well, and more motivated than ever to make a difference. Do not accept the status quo…you were made to be awesome!
As my good friend, +Jonathan Kegler says, “I stopped wearing a watch because the time is NOW.” Do not wait. Seize an opportunity this week to learn something new and make a change for the betterment of kids. My friend’s phrase is a contagious one, but in the most amazing way possible.
Now, go forth and BE AWESOME!