We all need to feel good about ourselves, especially teachers who have one of the most difficult jobs. I believe that is why so many teachers seek good professional development, relevant books to read and quality speakers who will elevate them in the midst of very challenging work. They want to improve and they want to be successful for their students.
Many teachers do find help on their journey to become informed and effective in their profession. However, challenging the very core and structure of schooling itself could send an ardent teacher into a tailspin. It’s their livelihood, their bread and butter, why would they want to disrupt the status quo? They just want to make their classrooms a great place to be. They care, they spend time and money above and beyond most professions. They desire to sharpen their skills and make a difference in the lives of the young people they meet and work with everyday.
Yet, when talking with each other in a safe environment, most teachers will express honest concern with many of the practices, procedures and policies that are part of their daily routines in school. It’s a regular conversation. I venture to say that those who do not question are successfully indoctrinated to keep the status quo. I speak as one who has done both.
There is common ground in which to build the future of education. We just have to look for it. As we seek to better understand deep, authentic and lasting learning and how we can facilitate that, there are bound to be areas of agreement. The bottom line is the freedom to learn in whichever way produces the desired results for the learner. That has to be the cornerstone principle as liberty and justice for all must extend to our most vulnerable and trusting citizens, our children and young people.
The battle for educational freedom seems insurmountable at times with political, economical and religious factions constantly warring with each other. Sharing the simplicity of educational freedom is like swimming upstream in a downstream world. I still hold hope in my heart. I hope that adults will embrace common ground for the sake of every child who is eager to learn.
As schools contemplate reopening, or not, this fall, wouldn’t it be liberating to finally let go of the one size fits all approach to learning? Wouldn’t it be exciting to seize this moment in time to actively and rigorously re-imagine and re-purpose schooling into something far more compatible with the learners it serves? There are so many incredible opportunities if we have the mind and will to think out of the conventional school box.
Three key words to consider as you plan for the fall:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men, (women and children)* are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence – July 4, 1776.
* Remembering the child and his/her pursuits of life, liberty and happiness!