Motivated. Inspired. Empowered. That is how I will arrive at school tomorrow. Why? I was lucky enough to attend a conference where I heard speakers like Sir Ken Robinson, Jon Scieszka and David Shannon, among others. More importantly though I was surrounded by individuals who are excited about education and literacy!
We are all aware of the challenges that face us daily in the field of education. Those challenges can be debilitating and onerous if we lose sight of our ultimate goal. After speaking to some American colleagues, I feel fortunate, extremely fortunate actually, to be a teacher in Canada. Did you know that teacher pay in the United States is going to be tied to student achievement? Did you know that if students do not meet a pre-established standard, they will be held back in that grade level regardless of whether or not the teacher determines it to be in the student’s best interest? Talk about taking steps in the wrong direction.
Sir Ken Robinson’s words seem directly at odds with the policies being implemented in the United States. He spoke about how critical inspiration and passion are to the process of learning: the very things American educators believe will be compromised if the pressure of standardized testing continues to mount.
As teachers we have the incredible opportunity to provide motivation and inspiration to our students. We have the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from the educators that surround us. We have the opportunity to create ripples and waves in this shifting field of education. Those of us in Canada, unlike many of our American counterparts, feel confident and willing to make decisions that lead to greater student engagement, creative and critical thinking without the worry of a stringent focus on standards, standards and more standards.
Our system of education, though not perfect, really ain’t so bad…