One of the largest frustrations that I have with regard to pedagogical reform (involving technology or otherwise), is related to the perspective with which many teachers think about leading the change. Many teachers are looking around wondering where the leaders are, who will ‘allow’ them to implement their big ideas for change. The thing that I have come to realize, people, is that NO ONE IS COMING FOR US.
Now I don’t say this to be inflammatory or contentious, but rather to point out one of the basic stumbling blocks that many reform minded teachers trip on in the great march to more/better/faster in pedagogical reform. The leaders in many schools are not reform minded. The leaders in many state houses are not reform minded. Although the word reform is tossed around as though it is a fore gone national policy conclusion, much of the ‘reform’ policies look just like more of the same: testing, standardization, and then more testing. I have to let you in on a little secret, more standardization and testing is not reform. Real reform, that takes into account the shift from an era of information scarcity to one of information surplus, is harder to come by, its nebulous. But, much like the constitutional definition of pornography, I know it when I see it. And I think many teachers also know it when they see it on the faces of their students, in the work they do, and in the words they speak. We know.
Hence, when you find yourself saying, “I wonder when (fill in the blank here with your school/workplace/district) is finally going to get it and start adopting more ‘21st century’ friendly pedagogical reform”, my suggestion is to stop asking that question because NO ONE IS COMING FOR US.
The leadership that we all crave and seek is really already here. We are it. Those of you trapped in places where the leadership is abysmal/lacking/stultifying, start taking classes to be the principal, or the curriculum director or, IT director, or, or, or….. Build common cause with community groups, universities, and non-profits. Get moving. Lead. We must stop waiting for someone to come and save us all from the big bad bureaucratic machine that crushes innovation and creativity because, well, you know why.