Kerry Gallagher was extraordinarily powerful in the first ISTE Ignite session:
I don’t just want my students to learn. I want them to WANT TO LEARN.
School hallways are filled with these conversations. “How do I make my students want to learn?” Or the soul crushing “I can’t do it for them.” Another speaker went on to say that if one is trying to grow lettuce and it does not grow, it’s not the fault of the lettuce. All I can say to that is AMEN.
Our world is changing so quickly I dare not insert a metaphor here as it would be outdated as soon as this sentence is completed. Yet, daily, many of our classrooms resemble the 1950s. While our students may be highly prepared to See Dick and Jane Run, are they really prepared for their swiftly changing future? A far better question, as the future looms over us like the a science fiction nightmare: are we ready to prepare them for that future? When thinking of this question, waves of chills wash down my spine as if the metallic skull of the Terminator himself were breathing down the back of my neck. Racing and working to prepare our students for standardized testing does very little to enhance creativity, invoke problem solving, and bring forth collaboration.
We are looking at short term solutions for problems we have created. These short term solutions will leave our students stranded and alone without the skills needed to be successful in their future. What do we do? Grab a flotation device, jump in the deep end and hold on! Why? Our students deserve it. We have been entrusted with the growth and development of our youth. We must learn to think long term and build the skills they need to be successful in life instead of successful on a test.
As an educator who has a high-stakes test in my content area, I challenge all educators to teach for the future instead of the test. Teach for collaboration, creativity, and to instill the love of learning. Teach so that the students will remember you for the love that you gave them and the adventures you provided. Teach like you have them for an entire year of their young lives, because you do and the impact you have will be life-changing for them.