While education reform has taken on somewhat of a negative connotation in recent times, the reality is that it’s what educators have always been doing. I mean, it’s what we’re doing at this very moment, and it’s what we’ll continue to do as long as we exist. This hasn’t been, isn’t now, and never will be so because of the real or perceived pressures from any external forces. Rather, its very existence is due to what educators value the most.
I could wax on here for quite a while about lessons, units, curriculum, instruction, technology, critical thinking, homework, assessments, funding, leadership, vision, improvement planning, tenure, options, charters, poverty, unions, politicians, parents and guardians, test scores, famous or infamous people, and countless other things. However, in the beginning, middle, and end, what matters most is something that often gets scoffed at or downplayed or supported only with a pat and a smile. What matters most is what we do that makes students want to be at school. It’s what makes them believe in themselves and work to explore and discover and share. It’s what makes them feel connected with the entire learning community, seeking out ways to make a truly positive difference in the lives of everyone they meet and collaborate with in this wildly challenging and exhilarating life.
If you’re wondering what it is, then step back for a bit. Breathe deep and listen. You’ll figure it out. It’s always been there, even if it gets shoved to the back from time to time. Trust yourself. Stay focused through all the distractions. It’s true. What we do isn’t good enough. It never was, it isn’t now, and it never will be. That’s why we do what we do.