I still can't believe that I graduated Union High School 20 years ago this year. 1997 was a fun year–a senior in high school, not a care in the world. Then again, it was a different world.
My superintendent, Dr. Jakubowski (with whom I still speak), made two prominent points at our graduation.
1. Don't get into a stranger's car.
2. Don't use the internet.
Today, I use the internet to get into a stranger's car with the app UBER.
Twenty years ago, I had to call Domino's Pizza and order a large pie and have cash on hand. Today, I can tweet, use my watch, tell Alexa to order me one, text an emoji, and, yes, still call. Cash is discouraged.
Twenty years ago, I needed a travel agent to get to college and have a paper course guide in hand while being prepared to stand in line for hours to pick classes. Today, it's all done in a matter of clicks.
Twenty years ago, most of my classes were heralded by teachers going right out of a textbook, with desks in rows and giving out so many worksheets that I probably had a tree's worth. Today, in many classrooms, that practice still continues. Why hasn't that changed?
Many reasons. Some teachers don't know any better, some administrators refuse to budge on allowing other pedagogues besides the ones that worked for them, and some boards show defiance as well as their lack of knowledge and insight. Often, it's a combination of all three groups interchanging all three characteristics.
This is just downright sad. There are establishments and cultures in place where mediocrity is encouraged and heaven forbid someone goes rogue and tries meeting learners where they are today. There are school districts in place (from the BOE down to the staff) where the same ol' same ol' is practiced, hence producing he same ol' same ol' student. Towns and people who accept this are going to get what they've always had, but we now have students who are ready to change the world in 2017 instead of 1997. Is this fair for the future students who will eventually be taking care of us?
An education union representative once told me that "education has changed more in the past 6 years than the past 60." If everyone is cognizant of it, why fight the inevitable?
We all get it; change sucks. People love to say "change" but don't want to change, especially if it affects them. However, in today's times where today's students have had internet access and have been exposed to social media & apps for their entire scholarly lives, how can those in the educational field continually maintain past practice damn well knowing it's going to hurt our future?
Twenty years ago, I didn't know my career path, let alone knew that the path I chose has a broken system that is still frequently embraced. Today, I'm well aware of it and refuse to stop advocating for those who don't know any better.
I'm here for our future. Are you?