Departure

A friend shared their thoughts on why cars have huge windshields? To them, it was so drivers and passengers could get the widest/fullest view of what was to come on the road ahead.

They added that the rearview mirror was smaller because it was meant to serve only as a reminder of the road already traveled, and that our focus would be best fixed on the future rather than what has happened in the past.

As part of our role as lead learners in the classroom we are constantly asked to prepare for our students for the future. How well are educators preparing for the future when they are equipping themselves with prescribed resources that are older than their learners? At times it seems like the rearview mirror is blocking the entire windshield. For some, the road ahead is so cluttered by the past that it’s hard to see at all.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleybuxo/15321215129/ CC by-SA 2.0

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleybuxo/15321215129/ CC by-SA 2.0

I wonder what it would be like to drive where the only view was like a peep hole on a door?

In itself, there is nothing wrong with using a tried and true resource in the classroom. We all have our favourites. My friend said that they use the windshield-rearview mirror analogy when they speak with people who are nervous about taking risks or are so stuck in the past that they are forgetting to live in the present or consider what’s coming.

What I am suggesting is that it should never come at the peril of losing sight of the future and our surroundings based solely on what has worked or been purchased in the past. Our schools are full of textbooks that are outdated the moment they are published. How are you keeping learning fresh and moving forward in your classroom when it comes to resources? I have cycled Language and Math resources this year. I try to give my students something fresh that has not been recycled from previous years’ plans. It took some time and searching, but the energy, encouragement, and engagement have been worth the effort.

As we wind down the instructional year, it might be a good idea to say goodbye to some old friends in order to welcome in some new ones. You might discover something new that has been waiting for you and if not a change is always as good as a rest. I get that change is difficult. I know that veering off of a familiar path can cause many to worry over the uncertainty. I promise that the destination will be worth the decision to make that departure. Make sure you have lots of windshield washer fluid to wash the bugs off on your journey. After all, you want to see the amazing destinations waiting on the road ahead. Bon voyage.

The post within a post

When I wrote this piece, I was intentional with my pronoun choices. In the opening paragraphs, they, them, and their were used instead of she, he, his, and her. I learned this from a wonderful PD session with a former student from the YRDSB who spoke on gender fluidity with our school staff. I mention this here to point out that the use of them, their, and they would serve us well in our writing to recognize that gender and identity are still often not being considered in all spaces, and that our ability to be inclusive and open can be challenged and stretched even further.

If you would like to see more about this please check out this amazing student voice talk by Noah Gibson shared at the YRDSB Quest for Well-being A Collective Responsibility.

Thank you for reading.

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Updated: June 19, 2018 — 10:09 pm

The Author

Will Gourley

Grade 5 lead learner and SERT at Adrienne Clarkson PS in the YRDSB. Focused on disruptive, divergent, and modern learning. Member of the global TED-Ed(Club) movement, 1 of 90 TED Ed Innovative Educators, and Global Math Project Ambassador. Twitter @willgourley Proudly blogging here and at https://escheweducationalist.wordpress.com/

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