We are living in uncomfortable times in schools these days. Students aren’t comfortable, teachers aren’t comfortable, parents aren’t comfortable. Maybe you haven’t noticed. Please. Notice.
Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in some uncomfortable conversations about teaching and learning. I walked away feeling like I didn’t convey the message I wanted to convey or with more questions than answers. I’ve also noticed that I’m starting to become more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
“The times they are a’ changin” and many teachers are beginning to shift both their ideologies and practices to provide better conditions for learning in schools. While at STEMfest a few weeks ago, I found myself surrounded by people leading these changes in our schools and participated in many conversations that gave me hope and a renewed desire to continue to push for change myself.
Feeling uncomfortable is not an easy thing. The eye-rolling, quick changing of the topic, or occasionally, the stunned silence that one encounters when challenging assumptions and long-held beliefs of colleagues– these things are not for the faint of heart. But as more and more people become willing to feel a little uncomfortable for the sake of our children, the tipping point gets closer and real sustainable change will begin to take hold.
Why do we need to change? Because our children need us to. Their future will require them to be capable and competent lifelong learners, deeply engaged in solving problems and critically considering the issues of the world from multiple perspectives. They need teachers that value passion, projects, and purpose over timelines, schedules, and constraints. They need us to see them for what they CAN learn, not what they can’t.
Shifting practice begins with shifting conversations with students, parents, teachers, and school leaders. Being pushed to defend either new or old practices and justify what we do and why we do it should be the cornerstone of professional learning. Technology allows us to discuss ideas about teaching and learning with others from all over the world, professional reading and learning opportunities are available with a simple click. To refuse to learn at this point should be simply unacceptable.
So, I’m going to keep pushing myself and others. Because I’ve realized that eventually, you get more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. And others will get more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
Eventually, we’ll ALL feel more comfortable with what’s happening in our schools. Because we will be less concerned with doing the wrong things more right, and more concerned with doing the right thing. For EVERYONE.
Learning will be more important than teaching.
Children will be more important than curriculum.
And schools will be places of JOY.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that teaching curriculum isn’t one of the goals of the school system. It is. But the goal of teaching curriculum is that children learn. And if children aren’t learning the curriculum, then something has to change. And it isn’t the children. Or the curriculum.
Dedicated teacher for the past 18 years. Lifelong learner. Newbie blogger. Follow me on Twitter @Baker1973Cathy