Be the Change


be-the-change The  photo on the right is from a Christmas card I received from a friend and colleague.  I don’t know why, but the quote has had quite the effect on me.  What I find interesting is that although the quote is from a wise Hindu man, it is probably one of the most Christian sayings I have ever heard. (Actually it probably spans all religions…don’t you think?) I even like the visual, which is why I scanned the card to show it instead of just typing the quote.

Why does the quote intrigue me so much?   Probably because I am on a personal quest to help change the face of science education forever.  I have spent over 20 years learning how to teach science to our children.  And I have dedicated myself to spend the next 20 helping others do the same.

I see a revolution coming.  A revolution that our children can take part in and thrive , or be left behind as the rest of the world leaves us in their dust.  I started thinking about this a few years ago when I read “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman.  The book made so much sense, especially after reading “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell.  I could see the tipping point in the not-so-distant-future.  Then I was linked to a wonderful Powerpoint/video called “Shift Happens” by a technology teacher Karl Fisch.  I have shown that video to everyone of my students since it came out.  Karl has made a couple changes to the original but I still like the first.  It is interesting to me that all of things came together for me around the time that I had made the decision to not just be a teacher but to help other teachers.  I had decided to make an impact outside my little pond.  I have taken some heat from teachers saying “What’s wrong with just teaching?”  and my response has always been “Nothing’s wrong.  Teaching is the most important job in the world.”  I love teaching.  There is nothing better than seeing the light come on inside a student’s eyes.  However I knew that I could help even more students by helping other teachers.

So I say to you,  what have you done to help other teachers?  Have you come up with an amazing lesson and not shared it with others?  Why?  One friend of mine honestly feels that other  teachers  should not benefit from her hard work.    Is that your reason?  Or are you the only teacher of your subject in your school?  Many friends of mine say that they have no one to share ideas with because they are the only person of that subject/level.  Do you feel that you should be compensated more for your work?  I know teachers who are stockpiling lessons so that they can write a book and try to sell their ideas.There are hundreds of reasons for not sharing your work and only one for doing it.

If just one student benefits from your work, isn’t that worth it?

Isn’t that why you went into teaching?

There is an even more important reason to share what you do.  When you share with others, they share with you.  You will gain from the exchange.  And you cannot use “I don’t have anyone to exchange ideas with” cop out anymore.  With every social web applications (next blog post will be on these) out there, you have no excuse.  I would also encourage you to contact neighboring school districts, or if you are an administrator reading this, how about using one of those “district meeting days” or whatever your district calls them to have your teachers meet with teachers from other districts?  Or teachers can go to local workshops, join organizations like STANYS or AAPT where you can find all sorts of materials and people to share with.

In short,  don’t you wish people would share their great ideas with you?  If you do, you must be a part of that exchange.  Start showing people what you do and ask others what they do.  Once the dialogue starts, I don’t think anything can stop it – and the children will benefit.

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