"Let us move forward with boldness and not retreat back into the comforts of the past." - David March
I know Johnny is going to struggle with Algebra because I had a miserable time with it when I was in school.
Which side of your face do you want me to slap, or should I slap both sides?
How many times have you turned on your local news, or read in your news feed about a negative Student - Teacher interaction? For every inappropriate interaction there are thousands of positive ones ever hour across the country. The positive stuff doesn't make for a sexy news headline and won't be shared unless we intentionally do so. We must continue to tell the true story of the incredible things our teachers and students do daily.
In the latest edition from Dave Burgess Publishing, Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe discuss ways that educators can be sure that the right message is getting out about our schools. Your School Rocks is a great source of ideas for educators. This is all too important with the addition of Charter and other for-profit education entities. We have to continue to fight hard to showcase the positives.
What are you doing to share the positive experiences in your schools? Are you sure your message is getting to the intended audience? As Dave Burgess said recently, "often we use mediums that are outright useless.... We need to go where our audience is, not where we think they should be." I would love to hear your your ideas in the comments.
So are you up to the challenge? Positivity is infectious. The more we share the great things that are going on the more good we will recognize. I would like to challenge you to blog about the great things you are seeing in your schools. While I am confident this will benefit our teachers and students, I am even more confident that you will benefit most from the experience. When we focus on finding and recognizing the positive things, we naturally are happier and more positive in our daily actions.
If you begin this challenge, please share the links to your blog articles with me. I aim to gather as many great experiences as I can in several formats, so I can help spread the messages on various levels. Make that conscious effort to find great things and lets be sure that OUR message is the face of education today!
Ok let's start with a little disclaimer....
Now that we have that out of the way, the headline really loses some of its shock value but I always love to take the time to remind people how much I respect teachers. I think it is important, because I am also one of the first to criticize the current state of education. I am also critical of teachers that really should be in other professions. You see just like anything else, there are bad apples, and I have no use for a teacher that is going through the motions. Those types are few and far between, and I hate that they tarnish the work of so many others who bust their butt on a daily basis.
So why would I fire all teachers? The graphic above should be enough to make the point. The very simplified definition shows just how outdated things are if we are still waiting for a person who simply passes on information or skill to educate students. There will always be a need for teachers to pass on the information they know to students, but it absolutely cannot stop there.
Students no matter how tech savvy they might be, have access to information at all times. The world that our kids will enter after their time in public education does not support people that wait for someone to tell them what to do or think next. Students must be given opportunities to have a say in their learning. Learning opportunities must encourage students to process information, apply that information to the world around them, and seek solutions to new problems.
On the other hand some would say that the definition of designer isn't much different. "A person who plans how to make or change something." When combined with the word learning, a Learning Designer would be someone who plans how to make or change learning opportunities. It may be subtle, but the key is as a teacher things are centered around giving information, while as a learning designer things are centered around the student learning.
In the end it all comes down to the focus remaining on student learning. If I could, I would fire all teachers and hire back Learning Designers. It may seem like a silly conversation, but it is one simple way of reminding teachers of their true importance. I think it would also give these amazing people a title that more accurately depicts the job they do every day. Great teachers are able to guide and shape the learning despite the many differences of students. They maintain a delicate balancing act of many plates. They are not simply teachers anymore. They are designers and curators of ideas. And these ideas turn into the dreams of our learners that change the world. They are so much more than a person that passes on information.