Aren’t I supposed to?

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by

Seth Godin is someone I really enjoy reading regularly. I don’t always agree with everything he has to say, but his reflections on stigmas, cultural change, relationships and education are always interesting and often inspire further exploration. The following post had me thinking about our roles in maintaining the status quo in education.

“Am I supposed to like this?”

If we think we are, we probably will.

We’re more likely to laugh at the comedy club. More likely to like the food at a fancy restaurant. More likely to feel like it’s a bargain if we’re at the outlet store.

Am I supposed to applaud now? Be happy? Hate that guy? Use a fork?

Judgments happen long before we think they do.

And successful marketers (and teachers and leaders) invest far more into “supposed to” than it appears.

As we approach a new school year, I have been considering how I will support the continued development of learning experiences we cultivate for our students. I often get told that my perspective is fresh because I haven’t always been a teacher. Whilst that may have some truth and I do believe that we all benefit from the richness of experiences we indulge in beyond the school walls, I think it is also true that we need to approach teaching with new eyes every day.

We have all spent at least 13 years in an education system, good, bad or otherwise which means we have an expectation of what school is “supposed” to be.  Parents and families (and of course students) also have an  expectation.  I certainly don’t go to my doctor and say, “yes but when I was a doctor” but our families do have experience of  being a student  “in school”.

“All to often, on the long road up, young leaders become servants of what is rather than shapers of what might be.” ― John Gardner

I never want to maintain a practice just because it has always been done that way. I want my actions and choices to be determined by purpose, merit and opportunity, to be open to what might be. Part of this challenge is to work with families, community, peers and students to change their ideas of what school is “supposed” to look like, feel like and sound like. Even the smallest of changes can have a huge impact on perceptions and attitudes. Something as simple as committing to welcoming your students each and every day can increase their sense of worth and make them want to be at school, through to developing real world projects that give students opportunities to make a difference in their community or another.

I am extremely excited about the opportunities we can make this year and I will continue to be open to what might be.

Will you be reproducing, or shaping something new?

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