WE’RE ALL NEWBIES

In the book The Inevitable, author Kevin Kelly writes, “So I now see upgrading as a type of hygiene: You do it regularly to keep your tech healthy.” We all have to upgrade our operating systems. Whether it’s a phone, tablet, laptop, television, wearable device, or some other contraption you own, operating systems need to be updated. Why? Because it helps fend off viruses. Because it fixes problems in previous operating systems. Because it allows for new functionality. Because the hardware will work better (at least most of the time). Because if you put off updating, your device will eventually stop working.

As educators, we need to continually update our operating systems, which means developing skills, acquiring new knowledge (or at least where to find it), and expanding our professional experience so we know the current practices of great teachers and administrators. This constant state of change is uncomfortable, but for better or worse, there’s no other choice than to be uncomfortable right now.

Kelly also writes,”No matter how long you have been using a tool, endless upgrades make you into a newbie—the new user often seen as clueless. In this era of ‘becoming,’ everyone becomes a newbie. Worse, we will be newbies forever. That should keep us humble.”

We should be humble at all times, and fortunately for us (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), we have to be humble because we’re all “Endless Newbies.” There’s no way around it. Here’s a test: Do you feel completely comfortable going to work every day? If so, you’re not learning enough. Nassim Nicholas Taleb says we should be physically or mentally lost at least once every day. Why? Because this keeps us humble and sharp. I bet there are teachers and administrators who haven’t been physically or mentally lost for decades. This is a shame because it means they don’t clearly remember what it’s like to learn, which is bad for students who are supposed to be learning every day. Also, it explains why some people get irritated so quickly when change rears its head at a school where the status quo has reigned supreme. They haven’t been lost recently, and they don’t understand that in 2018 there’s no escaping the inevitability of being an Endless Newbie.