Caught in the Moment
There is definitely no shortage of initiatives or focus areas within education; researchers, authors, administrators, teachers, and anyone connected to schools are continually developing new strategies, frameworks, and instructional systems designed to meet the needs of all students. I have seen a number of changes and program developments in my fourteen years as an educator; some of these changes have been outstanding and truly transformed the way that we teach and learn while others have been "flash in the pan" ideas that have gone away quickly. Regardless of the intensity of the changes that we have seen as educators within our careers, there is no doubt that we all have experienced many new ideas and have been exposed to the next "silver bullet" in education advertised as the answer to all of our problems.
Change does not scare me and I am always searching for better ways to do business, whether that is a more efficient data collection mechanism, a promising instructional strategy, or a better way to have conversations with people. As a system, I do think we often over-think and over-complicate improvement efforts by focusing so much on the moment and losing sight of the big picture.
What matters most and what will students remember 10 to 15 years from now? When I'm working with kids in any capacity and things get tough, I always try to come back to this thought. My competitive side can sometimes rear its ugly head in my mind when I am coaching my son's athletic teams and I must remind myself of the true purpose of these opportunities. Kids are not going to remember the touchdown that they could have scored or the block that they happened to miss nearly as much as they will remember how the surrounding adults made them feel in the process. It is easy to get sucked up in the moment and focus on things that are going wrong in times of frustration whether that is during a baseball game, in the classroom, or within the household. During these times, I find it critical to come back to my original question at beginning of this paragraph: "What matters most and what will kids remember 10-15 years from now?"
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We are faced with the incredible task of getting better every single day within our profession. There is no question that we are focused and invested in this work; however, sometimes our laser-like focus can get in our own way. In times of struggle and frustration, I challenge everyone to take a step back and think about what matters most in the big picture.