One of My Least Favorite Questions
Sep 25, 2013
This week I had someone pose one of my least favorite questions of me. No, not the classic “How much do you weigh?” or always popular “How old are you?” It was the dreaded; “What can we do to ‘Fix Education’?” As a true Southern Belle I pride myself on keeping my manners at all times…However, this idea that education needs to be “fixed” is so frustrating it makes me want to spit nails! The less proper non-southerner in me really wanted to say, “What can we do to fix your face?!” But, I am a leader after all, and I want to set appropriate examples, so instead, I did my best to have a civil conversation and provide a charming answer.
In my first reply I went with what I like to call “The Positive Slant.” I explained a litany of amazing things going on in American education. I talked about the increase in graduation rates, new teaching methods, technology integration, and the inclusion of different learning styles. You name it; I covered it. Surprisingly to me, my audience met this with very little excitement. They instead wanted to focus on negative things they had heard; including many things I know had to have been made up!
However, being a sweet, gentile southern young lady, I felt I should again attempt to explain to them my thoughts. In my second reply I went with a similar approach, I just chose to “Reframe my Answers.” This time I went literal and cited some of the amazing people I knew in education. I told them how in @mattBgomez ‘s Kindergarten class kids were actually tweeting and their class rule was to #bebrave . That got a good laugh! They told me they didn’t believe anyone was doing the things I was telling them about in Kindergarten. (GEEZ!) I didn’t stop there though; I thought maybe a visual would help? So I grabbed my Ipad and showed them the Social Media prowess of @NMHS_principal ; my hope was they would see how this has changed the face of his school & thus our schools through embracing, rather than fighting social media. Boy was I wrong! I got the “I can’t believe you let those kids have phones in school” comment. Wow! So, needless to say I didn’t get to go into my discussion of @patrickmlarkin and 1to1 initiatives, or @jimmy_casas and servant leadership…DANGIT!
My final response to the continued prodding questioner was this….Education in America is a work in progress. There will always be room for improvement; that’s called growth. Educators today are working both harder and smarter and nothing points to that changing anytime soon.
In closing I DID TELL THEM THIS…there is something that if I had a magic wand I would do to “FIX” education: I would make all children have a loving, supportive, stable home life. I truly believe these sacred home relationships make epic differences in our education system and our students’ lives and futures. So I asked them my own question; CAN YOU “FIX THAT?” (With my best smile and sweet southern twang, of course!)