Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. –James 1:17
Children of Tomorrow
Anxiously we watch
Wondering what the future holds
Letting precious time slip away
Like sand in an hour glass
Hoping our kids will grow and learn
But stifling them with old fashioned views
They are digital natives
Existing in a world their grandparents never knew
Technologically smarter than their parents
Navigating globally like never before
We teach them reading, writing and math
Forgetting there is so much more
Schools are so completely out of touch
Becoming museums filled with books that don’t relate
Ultimately it is our children that suffer
Forced to stay in an era that has long been erased
Teachers are curators of things once known
Standing archaically amidst historical remains
Will we accept the challenge or completely fall
The future is indeed in our hands
I was attending a two day conference this past week listening to knowledgeable people who have researched the realm of education for years and studied this ever changing world of social technology. I was surrounded by 300 or so highly educated and respected teachers, administrators, superintendents, and others in the profession of teaching. As these wonderfully intelligent speakers proceeded to enlighten us on what is to come with common core standards and smarter assessment tools, I found so many teachers baulking and ridiculing the new shift in teaching today’s students.
Whether we like it or not, the world is not as it was 10 years ago, or for that matter, 5 years ago. The education system that once prepared America’s children for the college and/or transition into the world workplace, has recently been failing miserably. The ability of today’s children to become adept, societal contributors is decreasing by the year. Why? Because we, as an entire system of education, are stuck. We are stuck on teaching things that are not applicable in this ever advancing world of technology. We are stuck on prohibiting the very use of technological advances our children are accustomed to using for fear of dumbing-down our children, instead of utilizing it to prepare them for the job force.
Personally, I stand amazed at the ineptitude of teachers to change and adapt to what is coming in the future. There are those that are gung-ho and ready to make dynamic shifts in the way we teach our students, but unfortunately those numbers are few and far between. Perhaps because of our own ineptitude in the world of technology we stifle our children. The current generation of children are indeed digital natives, with a comprehension and understanding of technology way beyond the average adults in their lives. They have grown up using computers to communicate, write, and learn. They have, in an instant, information that used to take us weeks or months to research and find in the library, pouring over microfiche film, periodicals, and reference books. They can get information from around the world within seconds and yet we deny them the use of such things in the classroom. While fundamentals of education remain the same, the way it is taught must change if our students are to become productive, successful members of society.
The seminar and training I attended had some of the most vibrant, excited, and forward thinking teachers, administrators, superintendents, and district representatives in attendance, yet still there was a nervousness that filled the room as the speakers continued to show the new ways of learning and teaching that will better prepare our kids for the future. If the most forward thinking among the education realm are uncertain and reluctant, what does this say about the rest of our teaching professionals? What about the ones who are stuck in their ruts and still have yet to adopt the current standards and ways of teaching because they think that their way is working just fine?
Change is here and we, as educators can choose to embrace it and help our children succeed or we can baulk at it, saying it will cost too much, be too difficult, and take too much time and ultimately fail our children and society. The fear of embracing change has been ever present throughout the ages in the world of academia, but like it or not, it is here and we have no choice but to shift our ways of thinking. We must quit asking questions that focus on the teachers and the districts in which they teach, and start asking ourselves, “what is best for our children and what will benefit them the most when they are no longer in our academic institution?”
Change has brought wonderful things in America: freedom for slaves and rights to live as everyone else does, women’s right to vote, freedom of speech and religion. Change has been at the forefront of every advancement our country has made, so why do we think any differently about our children’s education? Children are indeed a gift from the LORD and we are to be their protectors, their security, and we are called to teach and prepare them for the future that is to come. Therefore, for those of you who teach, I challenge you to embrace the changes that are coming, expect greatness from your students, and be the one teacher in their life that they remember forever because you could relate to them, knew what they were facing, and equipped them to succeed in this rapidly increasing global economy. Stand up, speak out, accept reality, and stop being curators in the museum of education! Be the forerunners that change the world, one child at a time!!