Cameroon 2009

Cameroon 2009

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I'm struggling...

  • with the dichotomy between those (of us) who push for child-centred reform in education, based on children's interests and passions; and those (of us) who remind us constantly of the reality of difficult, disinterested students who seem to remain so despite the best efforts of those teachers.  A year of Twitter has led to a ton of growth, but also significant frustration with those (of us) who sometimes preach without having to practice.  Humility in the presentation of alternatives to traditional paradigms is needed to prevent a hardening of position when teachers try out new ways of doing things, only to encounter unacknowledged difficulties.  Suggesting that "this will solve all your problems", even if it's not stated explicitly, sets others up for failure when success is hard to come by.
  • to reconcile the huge promise of new technologies with the realities of insufficient funds to provide equity between students, and to provide consistent access, training and so on.  Also, there is the seeming disappearance of students almost right into their devices during breaks, lunch, and any other downtime they have.  It sure feels like something human is being lost, even as I myself have experienced the potential of learning with others from around the world. I know there are answers, and have some faith that we'll get to a better place with this, but it's scary sometimes as we're going down this road.
  • to understand how staff (and not only teachers) who are no longer in this business, this vocation to make a positive difference in the lives of our children can continue to occupy a position that others would so gladly embrace, if only they were only given the chance.  It isn't necessary to be actively toxic to hurt our kids: it only takes a lack of caring, not spending time with them or being available to them, not doing the unseen preparation, to cause harm.  To be sure, there are a majority that are absolutely wonderful, often (mostly?) unsung.  It's also true that life sometimes gets in the way, and we (administrators) need to support staff through those times until they are ready to resume a wholehearted dedication to the welfare and growth of our students.  But, some have chosen, consciously or perhaps even subconsciously, to see the education of children as a casual pursuit and effort, saving their best for the rest of their lives.  That's just not good enough, not for this vocation, not for our kids.
  • and other things - perhaps another post.
We (I) know that struggle is a part of the bargain in caring.  It's a good thing.  But it's not an easy thing!

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