We are living in the 21st century where things are changing faster than ever. This obviously creates incredible opportunities, but that doesn’t happen without many challenges, too. A few weeks ago, I came across this post on Facebook and it really hit home, not only as a parent, but also as an educator. Take a moment to read it:
This post is one that I wish everyone would read. This is also a post that should be read with an educator lens, as well as a parent lens. Here is something that I’ve noticed… like in Genevieve’s post where the grandmother finds the negative by comparing a reality that shouldn’t be compared to hers of when she raised her children, I see the exact thing happening in education. Some people are firm on their stance that education is falling apart and that we are failing our children by changing things up and being innovative, simply because it’s not how they experienced it “and they turned out okay”. My own grandmother even commented on this not long ago saying that “children nowadays don’t know how to spell because they don’t have to write the word 20 times when they misspell it”. Sadly, I’m not just talking about “non-educators”. Every so often on social media, I see an educator bashing another educator because what they are doing doesn’t align with the other’s beliefs or is not backed by research. If we all thought the exact same way, how would we grow? If we had to have research behind everything we did before doing it, we’d NEVER do anything new… that is just part of the process. But I’d also like to argue that “backed by research” doesn’t necessarily have to be proven by numbers. I believe that teachers who are in the classrooms day after day can have a better understanding of what is working and what isn’t than any numbers or research could ever show. Please don’t misunderstand my intentions: I am not advocating for teachers to do whatever they choose without accountability to standards and districts/school expectations; but rather, encouraging professionals to use their experience and knowledge in order to make educated decisions when it comes to taking risks, trying new things, and changing things up in order to make education better.
Here is my iteration on the ending of Genevieve’s powerful post, with an edu-spin (the bold words are my changes):
So, here is my hope for us as educators…
The next time we feel the urge to darken what an educator is doing because it doesn’t look the same as it’s always been, because it doesn’t exactly line up with our beliefs, or because we feel it is not backed up by research…perhaps we can pause, and breathe, and redirect ourselves. Perhaps, instead, we can turn to our colleagues, our PLN, our students and ask questions to better understand. Perhaps we can offer support as we navigate a world—and a future—that is different for all of us.
Let’s lift each other up. Let’s support one another. Let’s share our successes and our struggles. Let’s challenge one another with the intent to grow instead of tear down. Your voice is just as important as mine. Let’s navigate together.