Really? Really?? Did she really insist that their building scores were "good enough" and there was no reason to change anything they're doing?? Really? Adding that "besides, it would be too hard" took me a while to process. At first, I couldn't believe it had come out of an educator's mind, let alone mouth.
I have to be honest; I was really... irritated.
For days I wondered why this bothered me so much. I kept rolling it over in my head, but couldn't quite put my finger on what it was about the comment that ruffled my feathers so much. Granted, this building has good scores in the particular area of content we were talking about. In fact, this building is typically at or near the top of the list in the county. Obviously they're doing some great things.
Still, the comment would not let go of me. The philosophy of it went against my grain and it frustrated me relentlessly. Their scores were "good enough" and change is just "too hard."
I began to wonder what would happen if all (or even most) teachers bought into that kind of thinking. What would happen to those kids who fell into the percentage group that didn't make the grade? Do we just buy the idea there's nothing we can do for them?
There are kids in my classroom who fall into that "other" group. Fortunately, though, we also have license in our building to try new things, do what it takes, and to keep working for those kiddos. It's not easy. Sometimes it's an uphill battle and downright frustrating. But we are determined. We are committed to each and every learner, child, or whatever you'd like to call our kids; not just a percentage of them. Those kids who don't get the learning the first, second, third, or tenth time don't just hear adults encouraging them, they see adults sticking with them. They have adults cheering them on. We are committed to not give up on them simply because it's time to move on to the next "thing" in the curriculum or because it's too difficult. We keep on. We keep learning, investigating, and working for our kids. I am so proud and honored to be part of that team.
Guess what? We don't have perfect test scores. But what we do have is worth so much more than that. We have kids who are believing in themselves. They are realizing they ARE important. They CAN learn. They even enjoy learning! They have people who care, who create, think, work, strive - and love - them.
Would we have that if our mindset told us our scores were "good enough"? Definitely not.
We must embrace change. We must. It's crucial for our kids' futures. For the well-being of them and their future families. Will it be chaotic? Probably. Will some attempts flop? Sometimes. Will everything we try work? Of course not. Will some of this be uncomfortable? Most likely.
Sometimes - no, often - change is hard, but it's still necessary as long as it's impacting our kids' learning positively. And sometimes the hardest changes are the best changes.
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra
Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic