Friday, December 2, 2016
Dear Defender of the Status Quo...
Dear Defender of the Status Quo,
The status quo does not need your help.
It is a powerful force on its own. It has inertia on its side. And fear. And control.
You feel safer with what's familiar, but you're not.
In the end, failure to change makes you antique, obsolescent, irrelevant, and eventually extinct.
You can see that the world is changing around you. Fast. Really fast. The evidence is everywhere. But what are you doing about it?
The status quo won't prepare students for the challenges they will face.
Change is inevitable, and you are needed as a change-maker.
Is your teaching today much different from how you were taught? Are your lessons preparing students for yesterday or tomorrow?
Desks are lined in straight rows. Students listen for instructions, complete assignments, take tests. How is the experience unique to the world today and not the world of 50 years ago?
You are more than a curriculum implementer. You are a positive change maker. You work with the most valuable resource in the world—children.
A lot has been pushed on you I know. Your work has been devalued, disrespected, and run down.
Your work is more than a test score.
But it won't help to circle the wagons and just hang on to the old.
It's tempting to become cynical. To resent the bureaucrats or pundits who want to change you from the outside. Who want to create a marketplace for a child's education.
Keep the focus on your students.
Keep an eye on tomorrow.
Don't let your school become a time capsule.
Be a champion for change. Don't wait for it to happen to you. Drive the change from your platform. You have a voice.
You are a leader.
People want to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against. I want to know.
Share your story.
You can let the challenges cause you to clinch your fists and hang on to what you know, or you can reach for something new and be the one who creates a better tomorrow for public schools, and ultimately for kids.
If technology isn't your strength, that's okay. But how are you growing? How are you becoming a stronger digital learner?
You lead by example. Your example is your greatest opportunity for influence. Your students are watching.
Don't allow change to be something done to you. Be empowered.
Your work can't be replaced by a machine, but only if you connect and relate and stay relevant. You may be a kid's best chance. You can be a game-changer.
Remember to always teach kids first, and then curriculum. Teach them how to think. How to work the problem. How to adapt to whatever they might face.
Create excitement around learning. Make it count for something besides a grade or a diploma or a test score.
The status quo is a taker. It takes your passion, your zest, your difference. It tries to make you like everyone else.
You are not an interchangeable part and neither are your students. Make your classroom more artwork and less assembly line.
And please, please don't be a defender of the status quo...
We've always done it this way just won't cut it anymore.