A passionate and powerful educator I know challenged me to articulate five things we should “stop pretending” in education. It’s a topic that invites a chip on one’s shoulder, so forgive me if the tone of this post seems more Clint Eastwood than Roy Rogers.
As educators we need to stop pretending that schools are broken. Yes, there is lots of work to do, but that’s true in every pursuit that matters, and we’d do ourselves a favor to hum along with Leonard Cohen as he sings: “There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Education is broken in the way an egg is broken by a chef: so it can be remade with purpose.
As educators we need to stop pretending that kids aren’t resourceful. Give a student a legitimate problem to solve, and if it’s meaningful and interesting (or urgent enough), the chances are good she’ll come up with something better than most would expect. We do right by our kids when we assume they are resourceful, and challenge them to show us, themselves, and each other.
As educators we need to stop pretending that quiet classrooms are the best classrooms. I’m not advocating disarray, just exploration. Adventures are supposed to be boisterous, and learning is an adventure. (We promise to put the furniture back in place and not hurt each other. Let us learn!)
As educators we need to stop pretending some kids can’t learn. All do. It’s what they learn (from our lessons and our actions, from they way we treat them and the way we let them treat each other) that we should be mindful of.
As educators we need to stop pretending that we’re victims. It’s easy to say that there’s not enough money, not enough autonomy, not enough respect… so what? We’re educators; what we do matters. Let’s start acting like it. Our struggles, when met with optimism, define us. Our successes, measured in kids, matter more than gold.
So let’s stop pretending we’re not heroes in white hats riding in to save the day. We are. Let’s start riding.