“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.