As I write this post in my office, a cup of coffee sits patiently at my side waiting to be sipped, the sun shines through my front window, warming my back and in the background, the sound of the TV, echoing the remembrance that will never be erased from my mind. It is hard to believe that ten years have already passed, my daughters only 6 and 3 at the time, were too young to comprehend the nature of the devastating acts that left the world speechless and stunned. My heart goes out to the families whose lives have been changed forever, from the parents who lost their children, to the spouses who lost their significant others, to the children who lost their parents and to everyone who lost a relative or friend.
But as we do, we fight; fight to rebuild the greatest country in the world.
But what keeps us going?
Why do we refuse to surrender?
What makes us so resilient and how can we pass our resiliency to our next generation of leaders?
The importance of questioning
We must teach our children the value of questioning, and not take things at face value. As we read, listen and watch, I urge you to model questioning and discuss with your students and children this valuable tool. As we want our children to be critical thinkers, it is through questioning that will improve this skill. To hold authentic discussions, there must be a balance of statements and questions. It is okay to ask why and let our youth develop their answers.
The importance of making connections
Last night, my good friend and I had a conversation about why as a society, in general, do we accept information as the truth, whether it is in print, radio or TV? He answered that it comes to the always-on-the-go mentality. We are taking kids from one practice to another, eating in the car, not having time to sit as a family. In schools, we race through our curriculum because we have to get to a certain point in the text before the big test. For our children’s sake, we must slow down and help make connections with the past so that history does not repeat itself. As educators, it is time to stop cramming content and start building connections and help our youth develop a deeper understanding of who we are and where we are going.
The importance of entrepreneurialism
As educators, we generally play it safe. Here is my curriculum and I will teach it. I take staff development to increase my salary. But, what are we doing to break the mold of 20th century teaching? I will bet that if you are reading this post, you are only a small percentage of teachers that want to improve your instructional skills. I commend you for that. To improve ourselves as educators, it is vital to pick up the latest educational research book, read various educational blogs and follow educators on Twitter and other social media outlets. But, I challenge you to take it to the next level and create, build, develop tools that will help your students learn. Become an entrepreneur. Open your mind and take the initiative. I have and it is exhilarating.
The world continues to change at a rapid pace. How we learned in the classroom should not be the primary method to teach our youth today. If we are to prepare our students to be questioners, influencers, thinkers, and leaders of tomorrow, we must retrain ourselves on the fly. We owe it our children to help them attain the skills to build a stronger United States of America.
I think I have to rewarm my coffee, it’s too cold.
You must be the change you want to see in the world.