Why Can’t We Be Awesome? We Have to Know We Make a Difference! We are the Heroes!
I considered so many titles as I tried to put these thoughts into a coherent message. So many things are troubling today and I am having a hard time wrapping my head around them. #Occupy protests and pepper spray incidents, Supercommittee debt reduction failures, child abuse scandals at major universities…etc. Everywhere blame to be found, fingers to point. America, at times seems to be, make that most of the time, seems to have lost its confidence. Today more than ever it seems that victory and advancement are not about achievement and innovation, but about pinning fault on others and spreading doubt about things that work and people who try to make a difference.
This past weekend I had the pleasure to listen to Wes Moore keynote the Triple I Conference in Chicago. For this educator, Mr. Moore told the right story at the right time. He told us of his success and triumph over obstacles and long odds and contrasted it with the story of another young man of the same name, who had a very similar situation growing up, yet is now serving life in prison. His book, The Other Wes Moore, relates the compelling details of both men and seeks the answer to the question of why the different outcomes? It was in listening to him speak and reading his book that I am finding a path through the issues that are bothering me. I am not only troubled by those issues mentioned above, but also the troubling issues facing my beloved profession in education. The difference for Wes, and the tragedy for the other Wes, was the fact there were, or were not caring people who intervened at critical moments in their lives. It was in reading this story and thinking about what Wes said in his keynote that I found a comforting realization…We Are the Difference! The people who dare to try to give our kids an experience that challenges them to fulfill their potential. Educators are among the ones who toil daily with students to push them to see what is takes to become what they can be. We take the time to know them, to love them, to push them, to care for them, to pick them up when they fail, and to cheer them when the are successful! The Kahn Academy may be able to provide instruction, but it cannot do what the everyday classroom teacher can do. No value added test can measure the difference a caring teacher may make despite a less than average score. As much as I love technology and how it engages our kids, it alone does not make the difference that allows our kids to become the amazing people that they are! I am so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to work alongside an amazing staff and to say I toiled with a team who are difference makers. WE ARE THE DIFFERENCE! What have we been teaching? We have been teaching our kids to create their future!