We live in amazing times.
This time is a time of faster technological change than anything ever seen before in human history. And with that technological change has come incredible changes in the way we live our lives.
And while schools are historically slow to change, we are now seeing rapid changes in the way schools operate. More students are taking courses online. Teachers are bringing new technologies into the classroom every day. And the digitization of student performance has led to a new focus on analysis of data in a way that has never been seen before.
And while we should be sure to evolve our schools and work to incorporate new ideas into our schools, we should also remember that very smart people were teaching before us. And in our haste to rush to the new – the shiny – we must not forget the lessons we have learned in the past.
To that end, we must be scholars of our own profession. We must work to understand the reasons that schools have become the institutions they are, and we must understand how innovation has — and has not — happened before. When we do this, we will be more equipped to innovate and evolve.
What we cannot do is just blindly follow whatever trend is hot this week, changing when the trend fades and leaving schools always playing catch up with a set of core values to serve as anchors.
The best ideas we can create are when we take the best ideas of the past and marry them to the world we live in today. We can create something new, grounded in the best of what we have been, but with an eye toward what our kids need to become today. To that end, when we look to innovate, we must ask ourselves “What’s good?” more than we ask ourselves “What’s new?” New fades. Good endures. That is a goal worth chasing.
While not necessarily Chris’ main message, these words make me think of the awkwardness that may exist when new and veteran teachers attempt to collaborate. To push past any such awkwardness it’s vitally important for both to appreciate each other’s perspectives.
New teachers should make sincere efforts to learn from their more experienced colleagues – regardless of educational philosophies. For in our profession there simply may be no substitute for years of experience.
Of course this all hinges on veterans valuing the energy and fresh ideas that talented new teachers bring with them.
Condescending attitudes from either veteran or new teacher must be avoided at all costs; instead both teachers must work together to address Chris’ question, “What’s good?”