It gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone back to, what is sure to be, another fantastic year at Condit Elementary. I hope your summer adventures have provided you time to rest, relax, recharge, and sharpen your saw.
I recently read an article from The New Yorker (http://goo.gl/Oompux) that has me thinking about the way that we, as parents and members of the previous generation, view the schooling experience of our own children.
The article discussed someone who made a disparaging comment about a Shakespeare play because he couldn’t relate to it. Sadly, this person seemed unwilling to appreciate anything that was truly different than himself. Let’s be honest, school today isn’t like the school that we attended. Math is done differently, the world is a different place, students have a completely different set of life experiences, and technology plays a role in life and education that my generation never thought possible. Sure, there are some hallmarks of school that remain the same (recess, lunch, PE, core subjects) but in many ways I find it hard to relate the experience that my children are having. More and more I find myself thinking school wasn’t like that when I was a kid. Does that mean that my version of school was better? Of course not. Is it possible for one generation to appreciate the next even though their differences outpace their similarities? Absolutely.
This sword of relatability cuts both ways. With the world becoming more and more flat it is critical that our children are able to learn about people, events, and ideas that are completely dissimilar to their own experience. We need to help our students create connection, avoid waiting for the learning to be all about them.
To paraphrase The New Yorker article: To appreciate today’s school only to the extent that school mirrors our own experience would be foolish. We aren’t talking about school as a physical building, we are talking about the educational program that our students experience. When we champion ideals like the 7 Habits of Leadership, Dual Language, or creating a Globally Focused Learning Environment it is in response to the skillset and mindset that our children are going to need. What was ancillary when I was a kid, is something more like requisite today.
Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year, it’s bound to be our best year yet!