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Be The Change

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

This quote hangs on the wall in my classroom and above the front door at my house.  When I feel like I am making little or no progress I reflect on these words and plow ahead.  Lately, that has been more challenging than usual.  You see I am increasingly feeling like an outlier at my school because I believe in the words of Barack Obama, “We are the change we seek.”

I have had several conversations this week where I have been asked, ‘show me a school that is doing it (in terms of technology integration, learner agency, 4Cs, sub groups, etc.) better?’ Is it just me or does that sound like an excuse?

  • Why aren’t we trying to be the model?
  • Why aren’t we reflecting on our practices more?
  • Why aren’t we asking the kids what works for them?
  • Why aren’t we taking more risks?

I have had a teacher say to me, “I am too old to learn something new,” and another say, “I am at the end of my career and I shouldn’t have to work as hard as I did at the beginning.” Wait, WHAT?  So you expect your kids to want to learn but you don’t?

It makes me sad, frustrated and angry because I think of Eme and Feehan.  I think about the passionate teachers that are igniting fires and changing the trajectory of their lives and the ones who are going through the motions and making them dread Mondays.  Unfortunately, there is more dreading.  I know the challenges of the classroom – EOG testing, district mandates, student behaviors, etc – there will always be reasons we can find for diminishing passion – so do we all accept them or expect more for our kids?

My old principal, Michael Armstrong, used to say to us, “I love you all but I love the little people in this building more.”  I have adopted that mantra.  Maybe that makes me an outlier in my building but I won’t stop questioning and challenging the status quo on behalf of kids and I will gravitate to the other outliers (my amazing Twitter PLN and #wonderwake nation) in hopes that someday soon we will out number the status quo.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Be The Change

  1. Oh Chris,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the reality of what occurs in many of our buildings. You are so tenacious, energetic, positive and inclusive in your ways toward everyone you meet, so to know that you, of all people can feel this way is a comfort, especially in all of the ways that you have encouraged ALL of us in our PLN. Our lives are so full of things that energize us while also taking our energy that when we meet the wall, it feels like it is more of a vacuum, sucking more of our energy than should be allotted for that level of negativity.

    I’ve watched what you do for your staff, your PLN and staff in the county and I can honestly say that #YOUMatter not only for you but to so many others that “catch” your energy and learn from you each day.

    I think the hardest thing about meeting those that radiate that static energy is knowing that “our” children (biological and those in the building) encounter this every day and we want better for them. I hear it in my own as well. The positive is that by having you as their mother/teacher and encountering great teachers, these children learn other important aspects about themselves, like what does work for them and what doesn’t. How to deal with the less than stellar situations life brings up.

    But HONESTLY, what ARE the answers? IF we are doing all that we can to engage, inspire, reflect and get our students to do it as well, what is next. Where is the encouragement. Is it that teachers are too autonomous and need to be given fewer options or quite the opposite of that? Morale? Is it our politics, society and reactions to educational policy or lack of knowledge? I don’t know but I love how our PLN dives into these topics because even if we feel powerless, there seems to be power in having others by our side.

    Sorry about the verbose nature of my response. Maybe I should have made my own blog entry dovetailing off of yours. 🙂

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    1. Juliette – Thanks so much for your comments. I am grateful for our amazing PLN, a place where I find guidance and inspiration. I wish I had the answers and I hope the tides are turning in favor of kids!

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  2. Love this, Chris! We can’t say we’re “doing what’s best for kids” if we aren’t constantly adapting and enhancing our craft to evolve along with the needs of the students we all serve. Just became a big fan of Mr. Armstrong’s quote – I never met him while he was in WCPSS but Chas spoke highly of him and so do you so that that’s all I need to know. 🙂 Great post. KOKO, pal! -Brendan

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