It’s beautiful January in our fair land and that means a few things – resolutions are in full gear, and folks (educators included) are in search of the “latest” and “newest” to implement in the spirit of new beginnings. That’s all well and great, seriously – I love change & progress more than most, but take it from someone who maybe loves it a little too much: Sometimes, it’s better to just stick with what you’ve got.
Here’s what I mean: If you’ve given something (say, a new small group reading intervention) a try for a while now and it’s not working, let your New Years resolution mentality kick-in and change it up. However, education is hard, and sometimes the long-road is the right road. And, sometimes, that road is boring. When the road gets boring, we can convince ourselves that things like resolutions and overhauls are the way to go.
In fact, education is fraught with examples of jumping on the latest and greatest, only to discontinue what we were doing last year. Last year, maybe we dumped a ton of money and PD time into direct instruction. That didn’t fix everything, so now we aren’t really doing that much, and have jumped on single-gender education. After a year, that probably won’t fix everything, so maybe we’ll become enamored with year-round education, or charters, or maybe we’ll put balanced literacy back in the rotation.
All tongue-and-cheek commentary aside, let’s realize that what we do is hard. We aren’t going to teach everything, fix everything, or inspire everyone. And when we do, we might not even know it, or know it for a long time. So, let’s embrace progress and always be on the lookout for what else we can do better, but not at the expense of building on what we already have.