Educators get a whole summer to reflect upon the last school year and be introspective: What advanced student learning? What didn’t? How can I be a better teacher?
I’ve used June for reflection, and I’ve come to a conclusion I believe is important: It’s arrogant to think we understand all the implications constant changes to education bring to the classroom.
When a country invades another country, there’s no telling how out of whack the invaded territory will become culturally, religiously, economically. When you take a medication that affects one number obtained through blood work–let’s use cholesterol as an example–there’s no telling how all the other intricate metrics will be altered. When the government chooses to subsidize certain industries or companies and not others, there are going to be consequences. When pollution pours into water sources and the atmosphere, it’s a no brainer our ecosystems will be affected.
When you deploy technology into the classroom, there are going to be certain outcomes. The same goes with implemented curriculum, intervention strategies, and standards. The hope is the positive consequences will outweigh any negative results that may be detected. This leads me to another conclusion I’ve come to in June: It’s misguided to know there are negative implications to what’s being implemented but choose to ignore them in hopes they’ll go away or won’t be a factor.
In education there’s a big emphasis on doing something. Do this, do that, read this, implement that, deploy this… Is time taken to reflect upon whether anything worked? I’d say the fact that we’re always trying something different is evidence that nothing is working.
The answer begins by not doing anything. Hunker down and get good at what you currently have as a school district. Create lessons and units with resources you already own. Share. Avoid paying consultants. Ignore the calls from tech vendors and publishing sales reps. Revel in the immobile pendulum you helped create because you realized the foolishness of the schizophrenic actions education policy has committed throughout the decades.
Happiness is found when you stop looking for it. I think this sentiment can effectively be implemented in the education realm, too.