Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year, New Hope

It has been a few years since I decided I would create a blog. I decided that the care and feeding of a blog site would be too costly to my doctoral studies. I am now ABD and I regret not documenting the journey and realize now that it would have been important not just to chronicle my own progress as an educator but also to illuminate the issues which are being grappled with in the field of higher education. I apologize.

I am now a few years older and ABD (all but dissertation) embarking on a research project which will look at alternative types of classrooms as holding promise for high school students who have been placed at risk through their circumstance or environment. If the research goes well I will pursue a pilot study, hopefully in an urban public school.

What I have realized over the last few years is that our stature as a powerhouse of innovation globally is still continuing to wane. So what as educators can we do? It is important that teachers recognize that they are on the front line of change. Not immediate change, but the type of change that takes place over time. Each student one encounters is a potential agent of change in their community and the world. How often as teachers do we just want to make it to Friday, or just get the paperwork done, or just get those final grades and reports over with? I read a wonderful book by Linda Lambert, shockingly it is not new, it is entitled Who Will Save Our Schools:
Teacher as Constructivist Leaders. This book,written in 1997, outlines how teachers can become leaders within the hierarchy of education and how imperative it is that teachers rise to this challenge. Ten years have past since this book was written. The drop out rate in the U.S. for high school students is at 30 percent. The solution will not be found in legislation, the solution will be found in teachers. Teachers should be empowered by school systems to create an environment that fosters learning for each and every student. Teachers should have the voice to demand the resources they need to make each classroom a comfortable, safe learning environment. Finally, teachers should be the first voices heard in the school reform movement.So as a New Year begins let all teachers realize how important it is to make our voices heard. It is an election year, let us look at the heart of each candidate and see if they have the well being of their student constituents within. Vote thoughtfully, voice opinions loudly, read Linda Lambert's book. Happy New Year! Thanks for reading and please recommend any other teacher empowerment books which you have found helpful!


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