I have again been searching for the lost voice that allows me to write here. Writers block is something that comes and goes for me. Generally, I find trouble writing when an issue troubles me and I cannot find an angle from which to attack it. Eventually I usually find an inspiration by going about my daily duties as the lead learner at PCHS or by reading an article or blog post by a fellow educator.
Yesterday I found myself greatly troubled by the revelations of child exploitation within the Penn State football program. I find it unconscionable that adults could lose focus so badly and allow such abhorrent crimes against children in the name of program and personalities. Being a football fan, Joe PA has always been an iconic figure in a game I love to follow. I won’t claim to know what the high ground is here, but in looking for answers, I found myself reading Ira Socol’s blog about the subject and the following line framed the issue perfectly for me:
(They were) looking after their brand and their profits instead of looking out for children.
The complete story has not been told, but it certainly seems that there was an end justifies the means attitude in the Penn State administration’s, as well as the football program’s handling of the situation. We will eventually get to the bottom of this story and hopefully some sort of justice will be served. In the end we must ask ourselves what can we do to make sure we focus always on our motives and ask ourselves before we act “what is in it for the kids?”
Does looking after reputation, influence and profit blur our focus on what is important in the education profession? You don’t have to look very far to see big examples where the adults in charge ignored the needs of the students in test cheating scandals the have been revealed across the country. What drives our incessant need to test our students at every turn? To tie those scores to teacher and administrator evaluations? Accountability is important. The students of this country deserve the best we can offer. BUT when teachers in Tennessee and Michigan who teach subjects that are not tested by the state test have to pick one of the tested areas to tie to their evaluation are the people in charge asking the question, “what is in this for the students?”
Using this point of view, or lens, if you will, to look at issues closer to home, I start to ask myself a lot of questions…
We have mapped our curriculum to the Common Core Standards and are doing our best to incorporate the new expectations where we can, but I ask myself, what is in it for our students? Are we doing it this in such a way to keep our programs relevant to today’s learner in my community?
From a personal standpoint I have written 311 blogs, acquired 3,263 followers on Twitter, and tweeted some 8,824 tweets, and today I asked myself, what is in it for our students?
I know that all the above items can improve the education for the students in my building, but they can also become a mere distraction if my focus is not on what is in it for our students.
Do you ask yourself “what is in it for the students?” when considering your actions as an educator?
Photo courtesy of MuntyPix’s Photostream on Flickr