This week I read a couple of great blog posts that have inspired me. William Chamberlain wrote so eloquently about his personal experiences http://www.onlineschools.org/education-debate/william-chamberlain-i-hide-my-disability/ and George Couros http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/1810 regarding what we should (and should not) be blogging about. Those posts inspired me to be brave (Chamberlain) and to stay away from the negativity (Couros).
After the #edchat discussion on Tuesday about the connection (or lack thereof) between High School and Post Secondary institutions I began thinking about our propensity as educators to blame others and how unproductive that is. As I thought about some of the posts I read, and wrote on Tuesday, I feel that there was just too much finger pointing and blaming one another. If we want to create a system that is responsive to our students and is entrenched in 21st century skills, we are not engaged in enough open dialogue.
I remember as a young middle school teacher whining to one of my colleagues and saying “Jeez, these kids are in Grade 7 and they can’t read, what is happening at the Elementary school? These kids aren’t ready for Middle School!” We would often hear complaints from high school, “at the Middle School, their all about relationships and don’t cover any curriculum. The kids just aren’t ready for high school!” Clearly, these are not the type of conversations that will create collaboration, only animosity. I think relationships are the driving force behind change and as a system we need to devleop healthy relationships across the entire sytem – Pre-K to Post-Grad.
As educators, we need often feel the need to prepare our kids for the next level, be it Gr. 1, the intermediate years, middle school, high school or post secondary. In fact we often use it as a threat, “You won’t be able to get away with that next year.” I think that logic is backwards. The next level, should be preparing for the students it’s about to receive.
To me preparing kids for the next level doesn’t make any sense…preparing them for what? We should be teaching to be where they are now and preparing them to be learners. We should encourage them to be thoughtful, engaged, to ask hard questions, think critically and to advocate for themselves. If students leave the system with these skills we have prepared them for life. If we prepare them for that we have done our job…let the next level get prepared for the students – not other way around.
I would appreciate your thought and comments. Thanks for reading