With every year comes the selection process for new hires. Interviewing teachers is a fascinating adventure. Once again, I’m struck by how differently (more powerful and more deeply authentic) the ‘master teachers’ talk to us about education compared to the rest. Truly, I am humbled and inspired by the anecdotes and insights that the ‘masters’ have to share about the learning journeys of their students (and themselves).
One of the questions I often ask is: What keeps you, as an educator, up at night? Here’s a synthesis of what we’ve recently been hearing:
In 1843 Charles Dickens wrote his novel, A Christmas Carol. It is a tale of redemption; where the main character Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three Ghosts: Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. The journey Scrooge takes (with the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Yet to Come) leads him to redemption. The visit forces him to “innovate,” to recreate who he is-to become his best self.
Scrooge changed who he was to prevent the tragedy that awaited him if he failed to innovate. That’s what keeps educators up at night – visits from the Ghost of Education Yet to Come. Every educator knows that if we simply move down the continuum of Education Past and Education Present, the students and parents of the future will meet us with a loud and ugly: Bah Humbug (Dickens’ phrase used to express disgust).
Educators don’t want the work we are involved in to be irrelevant. We don’t want the people we work with to be doing things that don’t count. We don’t want our students to receive an ordinary education. No. We want to be relevant. We want our work to be critical. We want the education our children receive to be… well, for lack of a better word: extraordinary. And here I mean extraordinary as an adjective defined by Webster’s as: highly exceptional or remarkable; incomparable or impressive; “an extraordinary achievement”; “extraordinary beauty”; “an extraordinary capacity for work”; “producing an uncommon amount of value.”
In conclusion, D.A. Blankenship says,
And what matters, to educators, what keeps those gifted masters up at night is their commitment to the evolution of Education Past and Present, into what it needs to be in the time yet to come.