Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Most Important Mission

Flip, RISE, Common Core, ECAs, ISTEP+, High Stakes Testing, Race to the Top, Longer Days, Longer School Years, Blended Learning, Charter Schools, Online Learning, NovaNet, 1:1, BYOD, Design Thinking, Project Based Learning, Inquiry Learning....The changes and programs come fast and furious in the 21st Century, so much so that I think 21st Century Skills ultimately might come down to learning best to manage the rapidity and frequency of change.  With all of these programs, stresses, and attempts to transform our educational system I sometime fear that we are losing sight of what is has continually been proven to be our most effective methodology, relationships.

This was brought home to me yesterday when I read Adam Saenz's post at the Huffington Post titled From Jail to Harvard:  Why Teachers Change the World.  Mr. Saenz tells his story of how he fought depression throughout his youth, and then was inspired by two notes left in an old journal by two former teachers.  The notes, only a few sentences, spoke of the qualities two of his teachers saw in him.  They praised him for his work, and spoke of the future they believed that he had.  In short, two a young man struggling with depression, they gave him hope.  He utilized this hope to first take one college course, then another, and finally at the age of 27 to earn his college degree.  He then went on to graduate school and to earning a PhD.

As we begin the school year, it is my hope that all of us, despite the rapid and ongoing challenges and changes we face as a profession, rededicate ourselves to the methodology that pays off the most, relationships, even though most often we may never know how really impactful our kind words may prove to be.

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