Courageous or Troublemaker?

It takes courage to stand up to absurdity when all around you people remain comfortably seated. But if we need one more reason to do the right thing, consider this: The kids are watching us, deciding how to live their lives in part by how we’ve chosen to live ours. – Alfie Kohn

One of the best parts of my job is talking with teachers.  I am a sucker for professional conversation- especially when it includes discussion of big, bold ideas.

However, I sometimes have teachers come to me feeling defeated.  They have lost their spark, their passion.  On occasion they tell me that it’s not worth the fight.  They’re just going to do what they were hired for… not go out of their way to try to make a difference or be heard… it just gets them in trouble.  They see other teachers who show up, teach kids, and go home.  They aren’t interested in equity or impacting change.  They just do their job and don’t complain.  – Of course I’m summarizing their words with as little exaggeration as possible, I hope.

In Alfie Kohn’s commentary from Education Week, Encouraging Educator Courage, he concludes with the previous introductory quote.  Within the article, he applauds the teachers who bucked the system- not because they were trying to cause problems, but because they were standing up for what they believed in.  He also tells of the courage of a teacher who insisted that her students “think for themselves, the teacher may be wrong.”

When I think back over my years, I can remember instances of courage and capitulation.  I hope that my students remember me as a person who stood up for them, stood up for myself, and owned the many mistakes I made.

The article is worth your time and thoughts.

Be Courageous!

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/09/18/04kohn.h33.html

Not Your Grandma’s Day at School

It is fascinating to think of where education, or schooling, will go next. We certainly can’t keep doing what we’re doing now- that would be a disservice to the children and the world. Our focus must be on learning for the future, instead of teaching for today.

Our Senior Administrators watched this video last week and I have gone back to it almost daily since then.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk60sYrU2RU

Here are a few of my questions:

1. How can a village of non-English speaking children learn higher level science written in English from one computer in 3 months, but my children are still struggling with those darn times tables?

2. If we could make some big changes, to help our students become better learners for the future, what would they be?

3. Or, better yet, are there any small changes that teachers can make tomorrow to help students be better learners?

Watch the video- it’s definitely worth the 20 minutes.

Please comment, I’m getting lonely talking to myself 🙂