Almost everyone wants our schools to be better, but almost no one wants them to be different. ~ Dr. Tommy Bice
Many years ago, after my senior year in high school, a good friend and I spent a week of our summer vacation riding bicycles across the state of Kansas. We rode from the Colorado border–near Tribune, Kansas–to the Missouri border, near Fort Scott. In all, a journey that covered well over 500 bicycling miles. Both of us were well-travelled and had covered much of the state by vehicle during family and school trips. I didn’t expect any surprises. But as we journeyed through farmland, small towns, prairie, and rolling hills, I discovered that I did not know my home state as well as I thought I did. Instead of seeing Kansas as it flashed by a car window at 60 mph, I had the opportunity to view it from the seat of a bicycle, travelling a great deal slower. Things that I had never given a passing thought, suddenly captured my attention and made me pause and reflect. I was viewing my home state through a different lens.
We need new lenses in education. A different way of viewing what it means to learn and teach. Many of us are used to seeing the entire educational process from the proverbial “car window”–travelling from one point to another with only passing interest in how we get there and what lies in between. Things are done the way they have always been done. It is easier that way, and until recently, that was all that was expected.
Educational leaders (meaning dedicated teachers, administrators and school advocates) are beginning to put away the rose-colored glasses in favor of new lenses.
- allow the viewing of more possibilities and fewer obstacles
- show a radically transformed educational system that values student input and individualizes instruction to meet student needs
- diminish the fear of technology and help educators embrace it as a powerful tool for teachers and students
- see the “back to basics” movement for what it is–a step backward, when we need to be moving forward
- cause us to reflect on all current educational practices, with a mind to change, or eliminate, those that are not in the best interest of our students
As educators, we have been wearing the same glasses for too long. It is time for an eye exam and a new prescription. Let’s change the way we look at our profession.