1. Jen

    We need more rebels. I want to be a rebel but I’m not – I conform because I want to keep my job. I’m reading a book called One Shot at Forever about a small-town baseball coach in Illinois. It’s a fascinating story about a group of boys who play baseball and their rebel coach. The best part is that he was also an English teacher. I’m an English teacher too. He taught (in the 70s) the way I WANT to teach. His students read the books that they wanted and he simply guided them on their reading/learning journey. His classes were flexible and organic. He was a hippie and he almost got fired a couple of times. I want to be a renegade (I played that song for my students this year and said I want to be a renegade teacher) but I’m not. I give my students tests that I don’t agree with and analyse the data. If we truly want education to change we have to be rebels like Lynn Sweet from Macon, Illinois.

    • I was once called “Rebel without a Pause”. I, too, was a hippie…still am basically. I rebelled. I paid the price by being excluded from the very committees where I was speaking my mind. Many colleagues would come out in the hall after the meeting and congratulate me for speaking my mind. But they wouldn’t support me during the meeting. They left me out to dry.

      We say we want students to ‘be in charge of their own learning’ but we can’t even do it ourselves. A challenge that is.

      Be a renegade.

      • Jen

        Thanks for the motivation! It helps following people like George because I get daily reminders to rebel…

  2. I often have conversations with family members who are retired administrators in education who feel that there was always more they could’ve done to make learning happen on a more authentic level. However, policy became the enemy of any type of reform movement. Today is the same! Due to their frustrations as Principals, I made the decision to skip that level and go straight into Central Admin believing I had a greater chance to be more of an influencer for changes in policy that would allow students to have opportunities to learn in ways that took advantage of their own passions. However, so far I’ve just become a rebel with a cause, but no voice. So, I’ve started to let my actions speak for me. I’m promoting Student Voice and Student Choice opportunities in the High Schools that I support. I created Student Design competitions to redefine the learning space using relevant project opportunities that encourages exploration and creative freedom. The students are beginning to believe that they have an advocate for change and the ground is beginning to shake. It’s getting uncomfortable in the office because people are talking around us which forces the powers that be to respond. This is a challenge that most are not willing to take in fear of loosing their jobs. However, if I want to walk away from this thing called education, wouldn’t it be ideal if I actually spent my time educating?

  3. I would suggest that adults by nature are a bit pessimistic…with good reason perhaps. We have been ground down by disappointments and failed initiatives that years later, are sometimes being re-packaged and re-introduced… BUT, ask our students! They are now (finally) being included in some of these conversations, and are excited to have a voice. Don’t get me wrong- they’re not naive, and they want to ensure that “something comes from” all of this “talk”. But as circular as some of these conversations seem, it’s their future we’re talking about. I’m sure people would like me to take off my “rose coloured glasses” occasionally, and be more “realistic” about some of the obstacles facing education, but just like I sometimes need to see the potential in my students before they can see it in themselves, I am committed to seeing the potential in our education system! So…mindful of the challenges and of actively pushing towards transformative change, but harnessing the optimism and enthusiasm of my students when I find myself losing momentum. I call it a “kid break”. 🙂 The alternative is simply not an option…

  4. Public education, as an institution, is fixated on protecting status quo. Change is the greatest barrier, or rather, lack of clearly understood and effective distributive leadership processes that produce effective and repeatable continuous improvement in an every changing educational landscape.

  5. Matt Curtius

    Our world is ready for changes. There is no need to be afraid of new ideas and suggestions. Almost every day brings us up-to-date technological achievements which can somehow improve the current situation at schools. According to The Guardian:”… education is experiencing an epidemic of trickery and cheating…”, that means we are seeing the rise of plagiarism at schools and Universities. Being an educational dreamer who naturally rebel against dishonesty, I see the highest necessity to control the quality of students’ assignments. The problem of plagiarism can be resolved by the application of plagiarism detectors such as Unplag https://unplag.com/, which examines works for possible plagiarism by scanning them against the Internet pages. Also, teachers have to highlight more on the question of intellectual property rights and of course explain the consequences of cheating in general.

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