I have had the privilege to speak in Indiana for their “Summer of eLearning” events over the past three years and I have been able to see snapshots of the state, that have given me some perspective. The growth not only in the conversations, but the opportunities has been significant as a whole. Years ago there were educators that were pushing the boundaries in the state, but there seem to be a lot more and I know that it is because of the persistence of many levels (top down and bottom up) that have made this possible.
What I have been thinking about how we have to realize that it is not only learning that is differentiated, but at the rate that we are accepting of change. For some, change is happening too slow, but for others it is happening too fast. It is the Goldilock’s conundrum that we are facing; how do we make it happen so the pace of change is just right?
Short answer? We can’t.
We have to realize that in educators are not simply educators. They are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. There are so many other things that are happening around them that many of us can’t fathom. I have good friends that are doing amazing things in spite of the things that they are dealing with at home. In fact, sometimes they do these amazing things because it helps take away from some of those things they have to deal with. I know that sometimes when I struggle personally, it is easy to bury my head and drive forward professionally. Sometimes when I struggle personally, professionally I also struggle. It is dependent upon many factors.
This is a profession where humans are dealing with humans. The amount of variables that we deal with daily are infinite as a profession.
So do we give a pass to those that aren’t open to change? Not a chance. Change will happen with or without people, but it is up to ourselves to evolve, adapt, and thrive. What is important that we need to recognize when people are moving forward, not necessarily their endpoint. One of the ideas that I have embraced in my role is that we help move people from their point ‘a’ to their point ‘b’. Movement forward is necessary.
Sometimes it is easy to think education has not changed in the past few years, but if we sat back and took snapshots, I know I have personally seen growth in the profession. The conversations on assessment, learning-centred classrooms, innovation, and mindfulness are things that were not the norm when I started teaching. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be frustrated with many of the barriers that are still in the way to help us move forward. I encourage you to continuously challenge them. What is important though is that we sometimes take a step back and appreciate some change that has happened. I know personally that we move a lot further forward when we focus on strengths and show appreciation for one another, than we do when we criticize.
And just so you know, if education is truly learning focused, we will never get there (wherever “there” is). Growth and change is part of the process of learning, and as organizations and individuals, we will need to embrace that.
Thinking of my dad on this Fathers’ Day, I looked at his actions, and the one thing he always reminded me of through his actions is that change is an opportunity to do something amazing. The more we embrace that notion, the better we will all be.
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