One of the first things that I have felt since becoming an administrator is the assumption experience and educational knowledge from years in the classroom had been reduced and that my words did not reflect today’s classroom setting. In a real sense, the further the distance (or time) that I was away from my own classroom, the further the divide between what I had to offer and acceptance of that understanding by other teachers.
As a teacher, I had a large group of colleagues that allowed for diverse opinions, great discussions and opportunities to reflect on my practice. This included current issues around education and the movement of change to the vaguely defined 21st Century Learning and Personalised Learning tracts that BC education has started. My opinions were either validated or refuted, but always I had the opportunity to share in the discourse on a personal level. Issues around negotiations, contracts, class size and composition were all part of the discussion and allowed for a more robust conversation and greater understanding of the topic.
Now, as an administrator, I find that these conversations are difficult to have with other teachers (especially because they really don’t know me, yet), and so I can only talk about certain issues with other administrators in the building (or in some cases, at district funcitons). And so, here is my theory on the state of our educational system in BC. There needs to be a change. Students, parents, teachers, governments and other school-related people can see this. The question becomes, then, how to implement this change. There are a lot of competing theories on change, but the one that seems to have the most traction in BC is what I call the “Fire as Change Model” theory. This is to burn as much of the current system down to its fundamental components and then start anew (think: Phoenix from the ashes).
I see this in the recently passed Bill 22 and all the confrontational responses and calls of support from all sides. If you listen to one side, the entire structure of the educational system in BC is reduced to prime the electorate for private education. If you listen tot he other side, the bill is a response to a system that is in grave need of repair, and the only way to do that is to ‘cool off’ the hot heads so that they can come around to see that these changes are necessary. Nowhere in this discussion, save a few twitter backchannels, are the parents’ voices, the students’ voices, or the majority to teachers, administrators or politicians. This debate is going on by a very select few.
But that is a different story, and for now, I will focus on the Fire that is happening. This Fire makes each individual have to fight for their space, and does not give the opportunity for everyone to collaboratively (need that word when talking about education) to stop the whole fire. We are too busy putting out the fire in front of us.
I know that I am!