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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


In a meeting of educators not too long ago the speaker ask all of us to think about why we got into the "education business" in the first place.  That is an excellent question for reflection, and one that I have asked many faculties over the years.

When you ask teachers, coaches, counselors, and principals why they originally chose to enter the profession of education, you get some very rich answers.  While articulated in many ways, the responses almost always coalesce around ideas like these:

"I wanted to make a difference in kids' lives."
"I think I have something significant to offer."
"I wanted to spend my life in work that has meaning."
"I want to have the same kind of impact that my teachers/coaches had on me."


To be sure, most educators have a strong affinity for one discipline or another, be it mathematics, English, fine arts, or any of the other traditionally offered curricula.  Most understand that the field of study is little more than the foundation on which the strong and lasting relationships with their students are built.  And, in my work with educators over the last 35 years, most understand that the "value" they add to the academic discipline is the true essence and power of the educational experience. 

I have yet to hear an educator say they chose the profession out of a deep and burning desire to administer high-stakes multiple choice tests, by which their students, their school, and, in fact, they themselves would be ranked and judged by a state bureaucracy.  The data is abundantly clear - the accountability systems that are built primarily on high-stakes testing tell us with great clarity the relative socio-economic status of the children being tested.  What those tests don't tell us is the potential of the child, the interests of the child, the motivations of the child, nor the intellectual prowess of the child.  Nope.

Those things are best assessed, fostered, shaped by caring and thoughtful and dedicated educators, who got into the business for the reasons cited in the quotations in bold text above. 

That's why we do what we do.

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