Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Educators everywhere!
Whereas, Memorial Day is a time to reflect and recommit to our common purpose; and
Whereas, an opportunity to define the future is within our grasp; and
Whereas, our current ways and means are not getting it done;
Be it resolved that this Memorial Day weekend we adopt a new professionalism as educators. It is the next step in transforming education.
To do so, we must:
- Redefine “educator”
Give up how we were trained and how we have allowed ourselves to be defined. Extract ourselves from this uncomfortable pigeonhole and align our efforts with the new age in which we live. Yes we can keep those attributes which continue to serve children well. But everything else must go.
- End the inertia
Be the change, push the envelope, lead the transformation. No longer allow ourselves to be seen as impediments to progress. No longer allow outside interests to spin their version of our reality. Put ourselves in motion and stay in motion, serving as agents of change and advocates for the future.
- Present our best professional selves
Walk with a tall stature of lofty ideals. Proactively smile, engage, and seize opportunities. Stand elbow-to-elbow with decision makers and stakeholders. Model openness, transparency, and flexibility in our thinking, offering clear questions and straightforward answers. And keep the focus on children.
- Divest ourselves from any influences that compromise our integrity
Give up the entanglements preventing us from freely embracing education transformation. Be purely motivated to lead education without self-interest or influence from outside the profession, especially commercial interests offering enticements to increase their access to education dollars.
- Exchange perceived security for professional growth
Let go of the Industrial Age notion that stability is security. We can no longer be perceived as stewards of the status quo. Dare to look outside ourselves and discover the greater rewards of contributing to the education transformation already happening…. it is moving forward with or without us.
- Model the values, skills and attitudes of the Information Age
Talk the talk. Walk the walk. Build learning and leading communities. Demonstrate trust, risk-taking, experimentation, and innovation. Become proficient with a variety of digital tools that promote learning and productivity. Network with colleagues worldwide. In short, live the life our students live.
- Define and inform the issues
Fill the leadership vacuum. Be intelligent, strategic and well-spoken. Take back the issues surrounding education and own them. Insist on being at the table for substantive discussion. Push back on any agenda that runs counter to what we know is best for children. And do it with energy and passion.
- See and believe in infinite possibilities
It’s time to stand back and appreciate the big picture. We are in the human potential business, and human potential is an unlimited resource. Remember why we chose education as a profession and reclaim our ideals. Stop fighting for our slice of the pie and see the potential for a world full of pastry chefs.
- Craft a dynamic, generative vision
Delineate the issues, identify the solutions and take action. Make certain this new vision has the capacity to embrace all children as successful, contributing learners. Be sure it is inclusive of all stakeholders and their input. Wherever you see limits being put in place, break them down and be a champion for expanding the conversation.
- Proactively build alliances
Be seen as a connector in an age of connections. Partner with stakeholders at all levels, especially those who most challenge our thinking. Make alliances that serve the best interests of children and learning and the future. Be known as an uncompromising proponent of the promise and power of education transformed.
- Build a new public education
Achieve our ultimate goal of transforming education, coupling the long-standing ideals of a free public education with the opportunities of a global information economy. We may not know exactly what it will look like, or all the details of how it will work, but it is time to make it a reality.
Let the word go forth from this place (my blog!) and time (Memorial Day!) that there is important work left to be done…that we as educators resolve to claim for ourselves a new professionalism!