Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Do Schools = the Borg?

It's the end of the year.   Thanks, first of all, to all of the people on Twitter who encourage me to be my best, to push faster, harder, further than I have before. With you, I am greater than the sum of my parts.  We are a collective of amazing...well, almost like the uniqueness found at a Star Trek convention.

photo credit: jaundicedferret via photopin cc


we are NOT the collective of the Borg here on social media.  We are not single-focus group think.

credit to http://gifsoup.com/account/Huntington123 and Star Trek

We have individual ideas.  We are allowed to grow together, to learn together, to even disagree and respect one another.  We are....well, a community that hasn't been assimilated.  We are fortunate.

Unfortunately, I don't sense that empowerment across all corners. Much of the time, teachers are seen as warm bodies.  You know, Red Shirts. An expendable part of the Borg.

credit:  http://astrorhysy.blogspot.com/2012/10/myths-of-star-trek-i.html

Here are some things I have heard through the lens of online conversations that give me pause, and make me wonder if we are schools of lifelong-learners, or if BOTH teachers and students are simply warm bodies that fill the holes without independent thought..

  1. From a Board summary:  "We currently are looking to hire teachers with coaching credentials.  That's a priority right now."  Could we--maybe--hire the best person to do the teaching?
  2. From a teacher:  "It was great being realized on Twitter during Teacher Appreciation Week.  I didn't know it existed."  Perhaps there are more ways for administrators and board members and parents and students to show teachers they have intrinsic value. 
  3. From a student:  "It's not about learning anything.  It's just memorizing for the test and doing your best."  Real world relevance, anyone?  How many facts do students now need to know and how much of their time should be spent accessing stored knowledge?
  4. From a parent:  "My child was told that online classes were a cop-out, as f2f is the best way to learn." Differentiation strategies should allow us to individualize education as never before because of f2f, blended, MOOCS, long-tail learning and online options, should they not?
  5. From an admin, "I like to go to lots of conference to stay informed.  Then I can tell the teachers those ideas."  At what point do administrators stay in the building and let their teachers learn, share, and lead? The research is clear--small pockets of innovation can lead to greatness, while top-down organization will not.
  6. From a first year teacher: "My union rep and my pre-service teacher told me never to friend students on any social media."  What good does it do to shut ourselves off from the lifeline of the current generation?  What social media conversations is your district having?  Is legislative policy promoting appropriate relationships and support for students or is it causing unintended brick walls?

Perhaps we need some reflection and conversations on how to include ALL schools in our transformation efforts as we head into the summer and our planning for next year. At the very least, though, we have to consider these scenarios for our OWN Districts.  How do teachers become stakeholders, decision makers, and advocates for students and themselves?

photo credit: svenwerk via photopin

After all, shouldn't ALL kids have a chance to 

Live Long and Prosper?

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