Education has always been the key to a better life. As a young child and student, I was taught that in order to attain the nicer things in life, one must study hard, work hard, and go to a good school. Although I was fortunate enough to not have had to struggle in my childhood financially, education was how I would provide my future family with the type of things I was accustomed to.
My ideas about education evolved as I began studying to become a teacher. Education was more than just a key to unlocking success. During my undergraduate program, I saw many students who would not have access to a better life despite having gone to school. Others would leave before high school graduation and for different reasons, yet everyone seemed to get by. The really lucky ones would make it big in professional sports or music and be well compensated without having to go earn a higher degree. There are plenty of stories about people who were either successful or famous without a degree. So why should we place such value on education?
Education still has a purpose for me and for my students. Education provides students the ability to discern information and to use it in novel ways. It is about learning where we have been to guide where we want/need to go. It is about understanding the world we are in and the people who inhabit this glorious world. Education is about being able to better understand ourselves and others. My “WHY” in education is to help students find and develop their passions as well learn how to think about and question the information around them. Education matters most when it is relevant to the learner. Education is about connection and relationships.
But how are we going to help the next generation get there using traditional methods of teaching?
Innovation is absolutely critical to the future of education because without it schools and teachers will become obsolete.
In the digital age when every student has immediate access to whatever information they want in their pocket or book bag, teachers will have to reinvent the ways they reach today’s youth.
I plan to become a part of this movement by educating myself on #designthinking and #innovatorsmindset, creating a Professional Learning Network (PLN) of like-minded teachers online, and implementing small changes into my classroom that will help create “rich learning opportunities” (Couros, 2015, p. 22) for my gifted students. They deserve it. I deserve it.
I embrace the challenge and I know this is where I am supposed to be!