At the end of last school year, my staff and I were charged with the task of redesigning elementary education. This was a scary request for us because each day we are entrusted with providing the best education possible for our students. Who were we to redesign something that has been the same for so long? Then, I realized there were no better people to be asked to redesign education than amazing teachers who were so passionate about doing what was best for kids. In the words of Steve Jobs, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” So, we started off on a journey to question the status quo, dream big, and imagine the unimaginable. We haven’t completed our journey; we won’t ever do that. But, we’re well on our way to discovering a new way to engage students and make learning meaningful. A few weeks ago I wrote about the mess we made. The following post illustrates how our mess has turned in to piles. Still not completely organized, but piles at least.
A few weeks ago we made a mess! A really, really big one. We began to question everything we believed about education.
We questioned our purpose.
We questioned what we thought was best for kids.
We even questioned how we should organize our classrooms and our teaching teams.
After the dust settled and we began sifting through the mess we made, we started to see all of our ideas as more than just things we needed to throw away or put back where they once were. Instead, we were able to begin to sort our mess in to piles. As we sorted, we of course threw some things away. We also uncovered ideas that we didn’t really like anymore, but as we sorted we also discovered that buried amidst the mess were glimmers of new ideas. Many of these new ideas aren’t fully developed yet, but they’re a start. We don’t have all of the answers yet, in fact, we won’t ever have all of the answers. Still, we’re turning our unorganized mess into piles. We just might rearrange our piles several more times before we land on something we are ready to invest in. But, we’re on our way. And, we’d never be where we are right now if we’d been too afraid to make a mess.
My advice to all educators is this:
Make a mess. You just might find exactly what you’ve been looking for within it.
I hope my blog posts inspire risk taking and new ways of thinking. I hope to connect with other educators on our journey to always do what's best for children.