Reflections in the Education Pool – Part 3

The time of school change is upon us and for some the feeling associated with that is dread. Resistance is a natural response to change forcing one out of their comfort zone. However, change is a necessity especially in light of the fact that without the willingness to change we will be passed over by others that are embracing it.

When I think about educational change I cannot help but think about one of my teachers from high school (for the purposes of this post I will refer to him as Mr. Smith). Mr. Smith was my calculus teacher in school and he was a fantastic teacher with many years of experience teaching high level math. One day I came into school and told him that I was likely going to be missing quite a bit of school due to contracting mono and I asked him if there was anything that I could do while I was out. At that point he opened up his ancient lesson planner, a book that he had held onto proudly since he first started teaching, and proceeded to read out to me each of the assignments he was going to be giving for the next three weeks. At the time I remember thinking, “man, this guy is really organized” but now I am not so sure I agree with that sentiment. Now I question whether maintaining the same plans year after year and never deviating is in the best interest of students. Mr. Smith was a very effective teacher when I had him as a student (at least in my eyes) but though the material of calculus has not changed much since the time of Newton and Leibniz something has changed; students and the way they learn.

The video below does not speak directly to education, but it does present an idea that applies to education and the trends that we are now experiencing in it.

  1. What do you feel is the primary message in this video?
  2. How can the message of this video be applied to your job?

Please post your thoughts and comments so we can have some discussion. Thanks for reading.


Filed under education

8 responses to “Reflections in the Education Pool – Part 3

  1. Laura mcdonell

    I love this! I am still trying to process all of it…it is ver true for us as teachers…our students..and I think of this in the sports world as well. I appreciate the circle visual..that made a lot of sense. It reminds me of the last half marathon I ran which was all hills..hitting the top of the hill was awesome…as it is in our teaching job…but it takes the most courage to keep going and climb the next one when we think back about how hard it was along the way…it takes a lot of work to reach the top…and to do it over again seems like a lot sometimes. Especially when the top keeps getting higher. Thanks for your inspirational posts.. I look forward to them.

    • Thanks for your kind words Laura. I like your reference to marathon running, it is quite an excellent analogy. Teaching is about adjustments and peaks and valleys as is a marathon. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Heidi

    I think the most unhappy people in their profession are those that show up and do as little as possible. We spend most of our lives at work and doing work related activities at home, your work should be your passion.

  3. Danna

    This is awful – but at the beginning of the year I try to train my students to use the classroom calendar to locate/take missing assignments, and then provide them with the online resources to find assignments when they are out. However, when they come to me … I do EXACTLY what your calculus teacher does! OMG I am such an enabler!!!

    • But will you change the assignments/plans from year to year or will they remain exactly the same? The ability to adapt your plans and constantly tweak them is how success is continued.

  4. Kristen Humble

    I love a good snow day off or two, but I LOVE TEACHING! There is nothing better than seeing my students succeed. Being a Spanish teacher, I love the return at this time of year when I can greet students in the hall, or have a conversation in the cafeteria that is totally in Spanish. Hearing the short video of the man speaking of success in the business world reminded me of how different our measurements of success are in teaching. I see success around me everyday embodied in my students, but it can be frustrating to see how differently the state measures success. I just hope that I continue to have a strong passion about teaching my students and seeing them achieve, regardless of how the state measures their success or “growth” in the future.

    • Kristen, you have hit on an interesting point in how the business world relates to the education world. One of the issues that is prevalent right now is the “grading” of schools. In many ways business models have been applied to determining effectiveness of schools. Unfortunately, this is not an apple to apple comparison and does not include many of the intangibles that are so important in the classroom.

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