Notwithstanding the innovations, methodologies, resources, technologies, or other initiatives you have endured over the last 5, 10, or 20 years, has anything of significance really changed in your classrooms with respect to student achievement?
If you teach in what we refer to as one of our nation’s “under-performing” schools, do your students continue to struggle no matter how much of yourself you give or how diligently you strive. There is no reason to think this will change, anytime soon.
It is not your fault and do not believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
Do not give up on your students, your school, or public education. Your students, your schools and your communities need you more than ever. Whatever happens, do not give up on yourselves.
When you return to school things will be different but you will still be unable to give every student the time and attention they need; you will still be asked to try new approaches and methodologies and train for new software applications that will be frustrating, will complicate your professional lives, while engendering few meaningful outcomes.
You must, still, brace yourselves for another round of standardized tests on which the same students will do just as poorly as they did the years before, and you will still be blamed for their disappointing outcomes.
You will still be denied the pay raises and the respect you know you deserve and this demoralizing pattern will repeat itself year after year, leaving you to fantasize about what it will be like when you can retire.
Think about your return to school. Has there ever been a more opportune time to do something new and different? Not a little different but “life-changing” different?
Whether it is teachers who will drive the changes that are coming or will be driven by them, remains to be see. Have no doubt, however, significant changes are coming whether we like it or not.
The danger for public school educators is that you will squander this opportunity by devoting your time, resources, and energy to get back to what we have always done. If this is the choice you make, you can be sure someone else will seize the opportunity and teachers will be fortunate to be taken along for the ride.
Teachers need to answer a question, for themselves, if for no one else. Do you want to return to the same classrooms and with the same constraints and limitations? Or, do you want something better?
We have all witnessed new ideas, products, or services that have captured the imagination of the American consumer. This is how markets are transformed, by the relentless advocacy of people who are excited by an idea and are determined to share it.
With respect to education, there is an idea afloat that is said to have the potential to transform education in America. Understand, if we transform education, we will transform America because people are who they were educated to be.
This new idea is an education model that exists to serve its teachers and students rather than one in which educators and their students exist to serve the model. It is an education model that is waiting for the relentless advocacy of teachers who want to believe there must be a better way to educate our children.
Why not take an hour or less of your time to examine this new way to educate our children; a new education model designed to support you and your students in doing the things your students need from you and that you need for your soul and sanity. You have little to lose and almost everything to gain.