Shifts, Growing Pains, Gold Medals, and Such

Ever have a time in your life when ideas, conversations, as well as changes were happening all around you? School starts back next week for my district. Through wrapping up all my summer learning and preparing tech changes in my district my head is over-flowing. All of it seems to be orbiting around without a star to pull it all together. It gets overwhelming. It causes mental exhaustion. Today I was having a voxer conversation and the person I was talking to started reflecting on what he was working on today and said something that may have sparked me a star. It totally stopped all the spinning and pulled it all together.

So this whole profound convo, he started talking about how hard it is to get people to move from what they know is not easy, you have to promise them it’s for certain reasons. The conversation went on to talk about how they will find reasons not to and why it is harder but sometimes the answer to why we make changes is because it creates something equal for everyone. And in the end it takes a culture shift.

And that right there sums up every single one of those satellites orbiting around in my mind. None of them colliding but every single one of them connected by the fact that if the change or shift happens we have made something more equal easier for others, and by others, I’m referring to those we are providing service to. Even if that means we have to go through growing pains during that shift.

The Olympics start this week. Gymnastics has always been my favorite event. I took gymnastics when I was younger and was even Jefferson County Schools 1st grade champion back in the day. Big deal, y’all. But here’s the cool thing about gymnastics, it’s a progressive sport. Every year the difficulty gets harder. Remember 1996 team in Atlanta? They were amazing. I remember sitting in a dorm lobby at cheer camp in front of a 24” TV with 100 other girls watching Kerri Strug on the vault. But the deal is, if someone this year did one of those routines in Rio, no one would close to getting a gold. What was once almost impossible is now less than normal.

Education needs progressive. What was gold standard 20 years ago shouldn’t be gold this year. Our world is changing constantly. Education has to keep up. Few weeks ago I went to a viewing of  “Most Likely to Succeed.” I could write for days about that movie but one thing that stuck out to me was what was said about jobs today. They no longer need muscle power and mental power. Sit on that for one minute. We don’t have many jobs done by hand that are not being replaced by machines. We don’t have many jobs that need memorization of facts, we can Google that.  What do our jobs today need? Critical thinkers. Problem solvers. Yet how much of our schools are changing? Are we still training compliant workers or are we encouraging problem solvers? I’ve had 3 convos over last month about discipline and classroom management and I kept getting feedback about more rules or procedures. Each time I wanted to just scream “or just change how you do school!” but I didn’t. I wasn’t in that position. But we can’t still expect kids to sit in desk all day and be compliant but not expect them to act out due to boredom and frustration. We have to engage all learners. We must make that shift to make school equal for all students. We must shift until all students leave with equal opportunities. There are going to be a lot of growing pains but we have to get there.

So while our education needs to be progressive, technology already is. Technology is changing at insane rate (that’s called Moore’s Law which is that processing speed doubles every 18 months). So while technology is changing and we can’t accurately predict trends, there are people (like me) so study these trends. I saw a Time Hop post the other day that was from 8 years ago, I posted on Facebook that Google Forms or Soho forms had the abilities to change my life. If you know me, Google Forms controls my life. That also means I’ve been using Google Docs for 8 years. Sometimes when we need to make a shift in technology, it’s not because it can do the same thing as another, it is because it will make the playing field equal. Yes Word and Docs do similar things, but which one is accessible to most students? Where can teachers post reminders that will reach all students? What is collaborative and able to support progressive education? Sometimes the adults must go through technology growing pains to support students in the future.

All of this to say, we need schools to shift. Technology and our world outside school is changing rapidly. That means we have to get out of the “way it has always been” mindset and start moving forward as quickly as everything around us. Prepare for growing pains because in the end when we see how equal opportunities for all makes a difference, it will all be worth it. And if you are not ready for change, then move out of the way. Are you ready to grow. 

*I didn’t name who I has this convo with because it was a private convo. But if he reads this and decides he wants credit for brilliance, I’ll edit*

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