Skip to main content

Five Things Educators Will Have To Accept & Embrace

   The profession of education is going through unprecedented change. Many aspects of teaching and school will eventually never be the same again.  And nor should they.  Although wholesale and fundamental change is slow, there are some things that educators will have to accept and embrace (if they plan on being successful and staying in the profession).

These five are:

1)    Education is more PUBLIC than ever – I’m tired of the word transparency.  And that is really just the beginning of being “public” as an educator in our changing paradigm.  We need to showcase our professional work as educators, as well as the work of our students, with larger communities.  Venues such as YouTube, Twitter and all Social Media outlets will be a foundational way for us to continue the idea of being public.  Whether it’s for parents, administration, district officials, government agencies or others, educators need to fully accept that close doors and private work are gone (as well they should be).  Every classroom, school, district and beyond will be daily showcases to the world of what one is doing.  Educators will have to be comfortable and excited about showcasing and sharing, or they will have to find a new career.
2)    Educators have to COLLABORATE – the word collaboration is almost becoming a cliché.  However, as overused as it is, it is an imperative.  Educators need to collaborate with other educators (across their campuses and across the globe) on everything from best practices to project ideas.  And if educators are doing this only because it’s an expectation, rather than an opportunity, they will undoubtedly miss the true benefits of collaboration.  All industries and professions today embrace the concept of real world collaboration – with their immediate colleagues, as well as with those around the world that have new ideas, concepts and challenges to share. Like so many other things, educators need to lead collaboration opportunities or find one of those rare professions today where isolation is still the norm (good luck on that one too).
3)    Educators have to CREATE curriculum – the days of depending on a textbook or one packaged curriculum are on their final march.  Because of new standards, technology and our ever-changing world, educators will be required to and expected to be curriculum creators.  They will need to be curators of varied resources and work together with their students, colleagues and schools to create and customize unique learning experiences.  There have always been educators from the beginning of time who did this for a variety of reasons.  But we have also embraced a programmed system for years that where curriculum was lead by chapters and tests from textbooks and/or fancy binders.  The times are a changin’ – many will be excited and say it’s about time, while some may shed tears as their teachers’ editions and packaged resources eventually disappear.  For those that enjoy the idea of finding the best resources, ideas, projects - and continually mixing them like an educational DJ or Chef – they will get the big idea (s) and reap the benefits. 
4)    Educators will have to be serious users of TECHNOLOGY – whether educators embrace the use of technology wholeheartedly or not, they will have to continually figure out a way to maximize their work, as well as the work of their students, using on-line resources and applications.  One does not need to be an expert at all technology, but rather maintain an open mind on how to maximize their students’ success using technology.  All other professions seem to realize that they need to figure out ways to embrace and incorporate the latest tools for maximum efficiency, productivity and innovation.  Educators cannot be the exception to the rule.  As professionals, we have to see how our lessons, activities and projects will connect our students to present and future opportunities.  Technology is obviously part of the fabric of that overall design and we have to see it that way.  It’s not our job to pick and choose what we like in the world and make that our educational foundation.  Rather our job to take the best of the best in available resources and tools in order to optimize the opportunities and success for all students whom we work with in any capacity.
5)    Educators need to facilitate COMMUNITY – in an era where students have multiple options on how their education is delivered, including 100% on-line while at home, educators will need to continually develop and enhance their learning communities.  Students have and will ask why should they come to school or why should they come to a particular school.  Educators will need to answer that question.  And because students could just stay home, what are some answers?  The relationships, culture and opportunities educators create and foster will make the difference.  Will one’s classroom be friendly, supportive, individualized, customized, equipped, exciting, engaging and more? It better be.  Educators will have to move away from the past where students just showed up to an environment where students will be choosing to show up – and they will be choosing or not choosing based on the successful presence of the aforementioned qualities of the educator’s classroom and learning environment.

(images courtesy of Minarets High School, Foter, Twitter)

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only things which matter in education are the fundamentals.

      Delete
    2. Jonathan R. Verlin,
      I hope you are not an educator in any capacity. You may not like these things, but they are a reality. Retiring soon?

      Delete
    3. If you are or ever have been a teacher, I'm glad you weren't mine. I don't have much of an issue with using it as a means to reflect on practice but if you're going to share data, honesty and transparency at the top are fundamental, especially when it comes to funding and spending priorities. You can't support student learning without these. In Phila., we don't have it -- never had it, never will. It may seem off topic, but it ties in. Without it, none of this means anything!

      Delete
  2. All points well taken, relevant, important. Meant as adjuncts to good leadership, organization, sound teaching principles, and family supportive values.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think this is an excellent article for its breadth of coverage and depth in provoking new thought about a connected and effective education for the 21st century. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Long before the defile of this once great nation by you liberal loons, schools were once the engines of industry and integrity. They would have remained so were it not for your progressive moral relativism and the evils underlying your preposterous and oftentimes demeaning reform initiatives. I am quite confounded and disturbed as to how fundamentally flawed your thinking actually is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jonathan,

      You go ahead and keep them in rows, working quietly under your factory-like model and see where it gets you. Thankfully, you are now safely in the minority. I'm sure your students are very proud of your efforts and creativity.

      Delete
    2. Having served as a junior high principal I have been called much worse than a loon. As for a liberal I am proud to have that be my "label". Our world is changing. We no longer live in the industrial age and our students deserve an education that is relevant to their future, not our past. This is an exciting time to be an educator. The changes I see in our schools- project-based learning, genius hour, makerspaces, students driving their own learning and others make me wish I was beginning my career and not in my 40th year. The possibilities are endless!

      Delete
  5. I enjoyed this piece because it cogently explains the power shift in education. The teacher is no longer the source of power, information, knowledge & authority- the child is. The lecture method is no longer relevant, the team creates content.
    It forces all of us who are educators to facilitate learning that will help children live in an ever-changing world.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

8 Lessons From The FFA For All Of Education

I was never an Agriculture or FFA student. Indeed, I have never been an Ag or FFA teacher. I have never taken an Ag Science or Ag Elective class. Actually, aside from eating food produced by the Ag industry, I’ve never even done much of anything related to the work that the Ag Community does.
     However, as the former principal of Minarets High School, I got to witness and be a part of the great work that the FFA does, and has always done, that we can all learn from.
     In fact, it seems that much of what we are trying to do with 21st century education and skill development, the FFA has always done. When it comes to what industry and the economy seems to be demanding from our students, the FFA has seemingly incorporated all of it from day one.
     When I became the principal of Minarets High School (Minarets High School) in 2008, the school did not exist yet. We were tasked, among other things, with having a dynamic Ag Science & Natural Resources Pathway. With that in m…

Evolutionary Education - 5 Things That Could Be Extinct Soon

It has often been uttered, that “only the fittest survive.” But when it comes to education, it seems things that might not even be that fit have continued to survive. However, just like in living species through time - dinosaurs, sabre tooth tigers and the wooly mammoth just to name a few - even things that have lived on for a long time eventually go extinct. So, with that in mind, it seems educational evolution is occurring too and extinction might be inevitable for a variety of standard educational pedagogy, tools and practices.
HERE ARE MY FIVE THINGS THAT COULD BE EXTINCT SOON:
Textbooks/Single Source Curriculum: (this includes ebook textbooks too). Regardless of whether they are digital or not, depending on and surviving on one text as the foundational source of information and context - regardless of course, age group and purpose - seems almost prehistoric at this point. Information changes daily and resources are born every minute on line. Anyone doing serious academic work…

10 Things That Must Change About Educators, Education

There are hundreds of things written daily regarding changes, reforms and new research in the profession of education. But much of this comes from outside entities (researchers, politicians, parents, leaders and others) aimed at educators. It’s time for educators to own the changes, thus owning the profession. We need to truly flip the whole concept of what it means to teach and be a true teacher.This can apply to all educators who understand that we have to redefine the profession.
Here are my 10 things that must change about the profession and the practitioners:
Professionalism - Teachers need to claim and lead the professional standards of their own profession. Just like in the profession of law enforcement, the system cannot tolerate or endure bad professionals. Cops need to police their own and so do teachers. For too long, we have collectively accepted that there are going to be a certain percentage of just plain “bad” teachers. The fact is that they not only harm the profess…