I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to generate as many ideas for my current problem of practice as possible. I brainstormed, incubated, and recorded every idea that popped in my head for a week. Although I’ve come up with lot’s of ideas, nothing has shown through as the glaringly obvious solution. But I’m keeping those lists and continue to check them. I think each one of these activities was valuable because in each one I found some new insight or aspect of my problem (even if the insight felt like a step backwards). Although I’m not really to this phase (this module was really about idea generation, not worrying about right/wrong) I think a few ideas are starting to show themselves as more likely to work.
One of the first big themes was messaging. In each activity I found that the fact that our profession is not viewed favorably by society and that we don’t feel trusted is a big problem. I think we as a profession need to take steps to control the narrative. We need to blog and share the great things happening in our schools and classrooms. We need to show society that we do good work and that if they give us freedom to innovate (and time to do so) that not only can they trust us, but we’ll blow them away.
Another theme that kept popping up and I’ve noticed in school where teachers seem to have a more favorable opinion of their work environment comes down to leadership. This came especially through in the brainstorming session. Administration needs to recognize the importance of giving teachers freedom and time. They also need to recognize that the time they currently have is lacking and that it needs to be respected. Whatever teachers are engaged in during meetings or district provided PD needs to be meaningful to as many teachers as possible.
There were a few other sub themes and ideas that might end up in my final list of solutions, not the least of which is to have Taylor Swift write a song about it. (I know, I know, there was a chance when she was country but now that she’s gone pop it’s really unlikely to happen.) Overall really enjoyed this module as it’s less about the right idea and more about the possible ideas. We are so frequently looking for the right answers and the silver bullets in education that we rarely are given a space to simply generate ideas regardless of how off the wall they are.