Friday, November 14, 2014

Agreement is Great..But What Did I Do?

The moment I read the above quote, it stuck with me.

It resonated with me.

I Tweeted the post.

Took a picture of the quote and Tweeted and the quote.

I G + 1 the post.

I even changed the the quote on my email profile from Lao Tzu "Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to." to Chris's quote.

Now I'm blogging about it as well.

As I held the door and welcomed students into the building today, Chris's quote still echoing in my head, I wondered:

  • How many of these students will learn something that they “want to” today?
  • How many students would be lost if they were given no other instructions than "learn something new today"? If we take that idea one step further, what would they do if they were given no instructions?
  • How many students will be actively "falling in love" with learning today?

Now please understand that this is not meant to be a critique of the students, the faculty and staff, or of the amazing things that I am fortunate enough to see everyday at this school.

What it is, is a critique of myself. A critique of myself as an "educational leader".

How as an "educational leader" did I get lazy? Believing that Tweeting, G+ 1'ing, posting, pontificating, etc. is an acceptable substitute for meaningful action?  How did I get to the point where “action” consisted of  "Let me tell you what I believe in and some how it will magically appear"? I realized that doing this does not make me a leader, rather it makes me an example of what I hate most professionally- talk about reforming, but do nothing meaningful and continue to perpetuate actions that institutionalize the idea that "learning" belongs to the singular place known as "school".

How as an "educational leader" do I mute a personal core value that intrinsic motivation should drive learning? As our students entered, they all are, in some way, marching in to take "required" courses, for a "required" amount of time, with "required" people, and will demonstrate their learning in order to receive the "required" number of points so that they no longer have to fulfill this particular "requirement". All along I do nothing more that "hope" that the fires of intrinsic passion are being stoked by the "requirements".

As an "educational leader" have I become institutionalized as well? Building/maintaining/supporting an 18th century industrial model of education (complete with bells to march the "workers" along to the next "required" task, along with our agrarian calendar) while pontificating and hoping that we will somehow build lifelong, intrinsically driven learners is the height of hypocrisy.

Perhaps, I am being too hard on myself. There are so many factors that influence our schools, education, and the learning that we offer, that are not under my control. However, accepting these factors and maintaining the status quo is the easy way out. It usurps the necessity of meaningful action by he who would consider himself an "educational leader".