Saturday, May 25, 2024

Let go of old ways for better education.

Transforming Education: Moving from Scarcity to Abundance

The exhaustion was palpable at our first staff meeting of the 2023 academic year. As coaches and coordinators, we had spent the first two weeks subbing in buildings, covering lunch duties and pitching in wherever we were needed. The pandemic was surging, and our time in the buildings had reinforced the difficulties our students and educators were facing as they recovered from the losses of the pandemic. As we reflected on our current challenges, my boss posed a question that hung in the air: “What are we willing to lose in order to change a child’s life?”

As a former teacher turned administrator, I have often pointed fingers at those “in charge” when something needed to change. However, during those first two weeks of the school year, as I moved from school to school and classroom to classroom, I realized that the person that needed to make the changes was actually me. Teachers were telling me that the technology was too much, and the students had given in to the permanence of education on computer screens long after we left the days of learning from tiny boxes on Zoom.

The weight of the old mandates and demands of teaching were intensified by the aftermath of the pandemic and compounded by the technology we quickly acquired to meet the moment’s needs. We were coming up with the minimum viable product and moving on. Whether these solutions were out of necessity or habit, they take up space in our classrooms and our desires to improve the education system. We know we must move on, but we are afraid to lose what we have.

If our goal is transformational educational experiences for children, experiences that change their lives and our communities, some things must go. We must choose to let go of tools that are no longer serving students, of policies that take up time and energy, of meetings that could have been emails and the belief that there is only one solution to every challenge. At its best, a minimum viable product helps a developer to shed what is no longer working and quickly focus on the most important features for the users to rapidly develop a strong tool. We must turn our minimum viable products into useful practices, policies and systems that transform education for our students and educators.

When we welcome the expanse that comes after shedding what is not working, we start operating out of abundance. Our students and our educators deserve abundance. Moving from imagining to claiming abundance takes will and purpose; it takes a recognition that in order to give the best to our students, we need to give the best to our educators. If we are going to truly transform and improve education, all administrators, policymakers and leaders must let old practices die and imagine something better.

The first time I visited my school after being hired for my first teaching job, I did not have keys to my classroom, so I peeked through the window in my door. I had no idea how I would teach, who my students would be, or what my rules, policies or procedures would be. That night, I went home and filled ten notebook pages with my ideas and dreams for the year. Sometimes when I get caught in the weeds, I think back to this moment and what actions I can take to give students and educators just a little bit more of that wonder I felt the first time I looked at my empty classroom.

Although I am just one administrator in one department in one district, I am committing to letting go of what no longer serves us to create space for the imagination, creativity and hope that brought me to this profession. Together, we must move from scarcity to abundance to manifest education justice for all.

In order to achieve this, we need to ask ourselves, what are we willing to lose in order to change a child’s life? What are the practices we are willing to let die in order to change an educator’s life? What are we willing to lose to make a positive impact in our communities? These are the questions that we must answer in order to transform education as we know it.

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About Casper Wong

Casper Wong is an experienced blogger who specializes in education and career development. His blog posts are a valuable resource for individuals seeking guidance on how to succeed in their academic and professional pursuits. With a wealth of knowledge and insights, Casper empowers his readers to reach their full potential and achieve their career goals. Follow him to discover the keys to lifelong learning and career success.

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