Education is in a period of transition. Because of budget cuts, it will be up to us as teachers and campus leaders to pick up the slack in planning and implementation where mid-management once took the lead. Also, we are responsible for leading teachers and students into the 21st century, using new technological resources and sound teaching practices.
For years, our best students were those who were “academic learners” — those children who could read well, and who could process and apply what they read. What most students learned came from books and reading. We organized large groups of educators as mid-management administrators to organize, prepare and ensure the educational process of teaching the core curriculum through a process called “reading across the curriculum” for writing, math, social studies and science based on this ideology.
Our administrative offices filled to capacity. We opened satellite offices and annexes to house them. As our student numbers increased, so did the federal and state programs we qualified for. With more state and federal funds coming into the district, the need for more mid-management curriculum and instruction administrators increased.
We can no longer afford this mid-management glut. Moreover, we no longer have need for most of it. Returning these seasoned planners and curriculum innovators to the classroom will optimize our overall success as educators and the overall success of our students.
The tools they use when they return to the classroom are changing, too. Our children are learning as much if not more from television and other media sources than from books. This does NOT mean that children no longer need to read or write any more than the advent of calculators meant that children no longer needed to be able to manipulate numbers in their heads. Reading and writing are still the staples of communication, but we are now able to give our children much more in the way of oral vocabulary and practical visual information. Videos, movies and the Internet give our children vicarious experiences.
This form of information dissemination facilitates the process of visualization, which in turn increases reading and writing capacities and potential of all learners exponentially.
As a certified reading, English, ESL, Spanish and bilingual teacher, I know that there are a great number of video presentations available to us as teachers on Discovery Ed, teachertube and many other websites in addition to what’s available to our children on commercial television.
Our children are exposed to volumes of information daily. As teachers, we must challenge them to higher levels and make them active and productive members of society. Many of our textbooks are outdated before they are printed. We kill millions of trees to print them, pay millions of dollars to buy them and then we are forced to live with them for at least seven years.
We might be better served with the acquisition and purchase of electronic tablets or laptops with e-reader applications. This would save trees and money.
I’m an eternal student. I love learning. I love teaching. To be the most effective teacher I can be, I, too, have to change, adapt and continue to learn. It is an exciting adventure. As we head into the 21st century, we must prepare our students for the world they will live in.