Education: A Creative Challenge

The children before me are a canvas.  They bring to school varied experiences, temperaments, skills, knowledge and concepts.  My job is to coach, guide, and mentor in ways that engage, develop and inspire.  I've described it before as a giant math problem where one works with many variables to create growth.  I also see myself as a conductor creating a symphony of voices, or a choreographer planning a performance.  Whatever metaphor you choose, the process remains a creative endeavor requiring reflection, direction, observation, vision and response.

Many who do not spend their days teaching would like to simplify this notion by proposing one-size-fits-all solutions and standardized approaches as if children and the world are static, sterile and predictable.  Instead, educators know that we work with an ever-changing, evolving landscape making our jobs similar to that of a wave rider who observes, predicts, chooses, and adapts as she rides the wave to shore repeating the process again and again each time seeking a better ride, greater precision and optimal skill.

Hence, the educator should seek optimal process rather than a one way approach.  The process should provide educators with routines that support evolving craft, responsive delivery and life-long learning.  It's an awesome creative challenge that vibrant, dynamic educators embrace with energy and passion--a challenge that is enhanced with regular collaboration of all involved: teachers, parents, students, administrators, community members, leaders and global colleagues.

In this age of teacher evaluation reform and races to the top, our emphasis should be on outlook, process and intent rather than status quo. How do schools and educators perceive their students and work place? What is their intent?  Which processes do they follow as they learn, observe, reflect, deliver and evolve? How does this work match the knowledge and vision of the world we imagine and desire?

Yes, education is a creative challenge--one that has the potential to move our world forward towards greater peace and prosperity. How do we support this potential in ways that enliven rather than hinder with a focus on all the world's children, not just a few?

What are your thoughts on this matter?  At this "fork in the road" time with regard to education and American culture, we have the chance to go one way or the other.  We can support the status quo, a model for a world that has passed, or we can create new directions for a world that we imagine?  We all have responsibility with regard to this decision, and it is important that we speak up and share our perspectives as students, parents, educators, administrators, leaders, community members and global citizens.
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