Staying Away From Average Through Passion
In my readings of late it has struck me how average is accepted way too easily. This is not along the same lines as Jim Collins where good gets in the way of greatness, but more of a concern regarding how all too easily average lowers standards. This is especially true if it keeps a person off the radar of those above. When you put this in educational terms, average is a travesty! We are working with and refining the most valuable commodity this country and world has to offer, which are our young people. Surely this is something that needs to be addressed through the lens of passion.
Passion is the key that moves educators forward and inspires them to reach new heights and not stagnate. If the fire has gone then so too has the educator. I am not going to be as presumptuous as to suggest that an educator has to come into the building singing and dancing, but there must be a willingness to grow and improve. I am also not suggesting that there will not be periods where an educator might feel a little low or frustrated, but the important thing is that this is temporary.
Another pitfall to avoid as an educator is to fall into the legislation trap. Legislation over the last 20 years seems to have been specifically designed to create “average-ness”. Educators have been shackled with the threat of high stakes testing and evaluations based on their ability to teach to the test. This is true at every level and it takes a brave person to completely step outside the box and challenge the norms.
So what can be done to bring back passion and re-energize educators who have calcified?
- I think scheduling is an area that can inspire. We need to give teachers not just SOL classes (high school), but to also have them teach elective classes in which they can be creative without the pressure of standardized testing. Administration must entrust the teachers to push the envelope.
- We can also push the existing boundaries of the SOL classes. We realize we are in a box, but can we push the boundaries of the box a little further?
Can we make the box bigger? This is the area that administrators and school district staff can really support. Can we empower creative classrooms? Will it be acceptable to fail as long as we fail in a passionate attempt? I think this is totally acceptable as long as there is reflection
3. Lastly, I think administrators can model their creativity. They can also fail in an attempt of a new initiative or activity. This vulnerability sets the tone and brings security to an environment that can stifle the very premise of its purpose.