It’s being said more often now than ever. Not long ago, it started as a realization among those working in education reform. Later it became an epiphany. It then moved to an understanding. And now it’s matured into a truth.
“We will not transform education until we transform educators.”
So, let’s be clear about the statement and separate it from wrong thinking.
We don’t need to transform educators because they are the problem. We need to transform educators because they are the solution.
The distinctions between being the problem and being the solution……..
Certainly, when educators dig in their heels and demand systemic paralysis in classrooms by not being willing to learn, change and grow, they are the problem.
When educators just purchase the latest pretty packaged program, wastes the precious time and resources for training and development, throw up the banners and stick on the lapel pins, and delay genuine transformation while the program disintegrates in three years, they are the problem.
When educators focus on smoke and mirror teaching systems while not making sure everyone is learning, they are the problem.
However, when educators see themselves as the first learners and the best learners in a classroom, they become the solution.
When educators see a child’s learning being much more important than their teaching and leverage a blend of resources to deliver content, measure progress and respond to every learner, they are the solution.
When educators engage with every student, each student, they are the solution.
Those most closely tied to education reform have started repeating the phrase often. “We won’t see transformation until we see change in teachers.”
That phrase can often come from a negative perception of our educators. However, I believe that statement is the most positive statement we could ever make.
Finally, everyone gets it. We must transform educators or we won’t transform education.
The pretty package and the pockets of promise won’t transform anything. That three year cycle is an endless loop.
Educators are our answer. And most want to stop saying we have to change and actually start changing. If we can stop opening boxes and passing out brochures and start actually connecting with the creative, passionate mind of the educator, we can find hidden in there the solutions and the keys to transform our classrooms.
Educators are waiting for those who know them to speak to them, teach them, show them, guide them. It’s a transformed world for learners and teachers are our greatest hope to transform everything.
But it takes a different approach. We haven’t institutionalized transformed thinking in our certifications or training yet. Part of transformation will require unteaching some things.
But they’re ready. We just need to do it.
Transformation will require us to sell out to and buy into a changed paradigm about education. And that will start and end with our educators. We must work with them. Transformed educators will transform education. That’s a positive and that’s a promise.