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Administration, Education, Leadership, Teaching, Technology

An Educational Eye Exam

Eye Of Colour HDR

flickr photo by Luxxian Flair

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.

Not anymore.

Educational leaders (meaning dedicated teachers, administrators and school advocates) are beginning to put away the rose-colored glasses in favor of new lenses.

Lenses that:

  • 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.


About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


8 thoughts on “An Educational Eye Exam

  1. Truth, Jeff. We do little things that barely make a ripple because we’re so comfortable with how things are. Changing things dramatically would require stepping outside, listening to others, and humbling ourselves.

    Posted by Tom Altepeter | February 13, 2011, 9:59 pm
  2. Points three and four should be transitional points. They should be a bridge to our next form of education.

    I want to do my job as an instructional technologist well enough to put me out of business and allow teachers to take back their own PD in technology.

    Back-to-basics feels more like a political movement grounded in something less than educational ideology.

    Posted by Penny Christensen | February 17, 2011, 1:15 pm
  3. As a veteran teacher with over 20 years experience my belief is if we do not change the way we teach, we are doing our students a great disservice. The world around us is constantly changing, we as humans are changing, why would we continue to teach the same way? Change can be a very good thing.

    Posted by Sabrina | February 17, 2011, 3:45 pm
  4. Dear Jeff,

    Thank you for your instructive comments. What if at each of our schools we had a core of teachers, administrators and staff who wanted to dream and design the “new educational system”? I would like to be a part of that group and then see how it changes our students and teaching.

    By the way, I too was born and raised in the great State of Kansas. I hale from Meade, Kansas. Where did you live and grow up?

    Denny Borchers

    Posted by Rev. Dennis Borchers | February 17, 2011, 3:54 pm


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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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