My posts as of late have been somber, critical, and perhaps too much on the glass-half-empty side. I am aware that they have been. I knew they would be.
This dark view on our state’s support of our educational system and the future success of our schools is the result of watching education change over the 15 years of my career.
But enough about school. I gave my kitchen a simple remodel during the first week of April.
Days later, as I was preparing a meal in my kitchen, I recognized the metaphor. This kitchen is my outlook on teaching.
My kitchen worked. It did not look good, nor was it highly functional. However, it did work. My kitchen was “strategic” in the category of Food Preparation Area (that’s common core standard FPA 3.2).
My wife and I took a day and reworked the kitchen. We did not move any walls, nor where there any appliance changes. We moved and reused what already existed in our house. In this way, we used mostly what we already had. We purchased two items: a new light and paint.
Do you see the metaphor here? Our previous kitchen did not work well so we took it upon ourselves to change it—make it what we wanted. We used materials that already existed in our system, and when we could not, we purchased only the barest of what was needed.
The light helped us to see in the kitchen. The increase of light was a phenomenal change and the best part of the kitchen remodel. Plus, the previous light was a broken, ugly ceiling fan that the previous owners wired in. It was always dirty, and hung down too low. Why did we live with it for as long as we did? We did not take a moment to think about how we can make better use of what we already have.
Education is like that. We can make better use of what we already have. As a system, we do not need huge change. Simple, subtle, and super change will work. However, it is up to us … You and me.
My kitchen remodel worked as a system because (a) my wife and I agreed on what we wanted, (b) we made decision smoothly and swiftly, and (c) we did not involve any outside opinions.
Our education does not work as smoothly as my kitchen because there are more than two people involved, and decisions are rarely smooth or swift. And clearly, there are more people involved in the decisions than should be.
But you can make a difference in your “kitchen.” Your CLASSROOM. How can you repurpose what you are required to teach to better help the flow of cooking up some enthusiasm and interest? How can you use what already exists to create engagement? How can you take the students you have, the ones invited to your classroom, and provide for them?
These are dark times in education and if you value education, our schools, and the future of our state, you will get involved in the issues. You can start by changing how you cook