Sometimes I wonder where my passion for educational change comes from. Why do I stay up on Friday nights reading about education? Why do I spend 27 days, in one month, flying all around to speak about reinventing curriculum- something I am now calling remixing the classroom.
Then I remember those students I had – whose eyes would light up like they just opened their favorite Christmas present- as they became immersed and engaged in the lesson! The students who would come up after class and genuinely thank me for being their teacher. The students whose eyes would tear up when they got it – and the intangible force their pride fueled in me to keep reinventing lessons to make them engaging. I do it for them. Each and every student who has walked through my classroom doors. Even the ones who would have preferred that I just stuck to the textbook, because phoning it in was a lot easier.
This is all for my ex-students – for the Jacob Bows and the Christie Clarks – one growing up in inner-city San Francisco and one in Atherton, CA. Different socio-economic paths and life experiences, but both with the same wide-eyed love of learning that I didn’t want to squash by forcing them to do a worksheet, read only from a textbook or adhere to standard they were not ready for. I owed both students experiences that would lead to a genuine excitement for ideas and help them make critical connections, and would allow them to experience the power of grit. I always felt that my mission in life was not to teach my students history or English, but to help them fall in love with learning.
Now, I need to help teachers remember that this should be one of our goals. Forget assessments for a minute, forget standards, and even forget technology. Is your lesson inspiring a love of learning? If it is not…maybe it is time for a change. And boom! There it is… that reason I am so driven toward change.