Living in the same town
For all these years
Doing the same old things
Hanging with the same crowd
And it’s starting to get crippling
You’ve never felt in place
And you tell yourself it’s all okay
But something’s different today
You want to run the opposite way.
Opposite Way – Lyrics by Leeland
Sometimes, the opposite is appealing. Mired in the ruts of the day-to-day, searching for purpose, struggling to feel like a difference maker. Have you ever just wanted to run? To resist the status quo, simply for the sake of change? To stand up in a meeting and say, enough? To walk out, and keep going until you are staring into the tranquility of the ocean? To highlight your entire inbox, and hit the delete button? To do something so dramatically different that it would shake your existence to its very foundation?
Yesterday, I was reminded that we don’t live “in neutral.” Every decision we make — every single word we speak, and action we take — moves us either closer, or further away, from the person we are intended to be. We are either going forward, or backward — standing still is not an option. The familiar phrase “go with the flow” might be good advice, provided you are drifting in a positive direction. But, sometimes, I think the opposite way not only has merit, but is an obligation.
As I consider what we accept as “the norm” in education, I wonder about my courage to go the opposite way. John Spencer recently wrote a piece entitled, What Changed in Ten Years. In his post, John laments a system that is increasingly typified by “less creativity, less autonomy, less inquiry and less critical thinking.” That is not what I think is best for students, and it certainly isn’t the kind of education I want for my daughter. So, perhaps, it is time to do something different.
As educators, what should be our response? What is our obligation to the students we serve? Am I doing the right things for my staff and students? Are my actions moving me in the right direction — closer to the person I am intended to be?
As usual, I am left with a more questions than answers.