Some days go along smoothly and stay that way. Others, not so much. One of the interesting things about working in a school is that there is seldom a dull moment. That may sound like things often go wrong, but that’s not the case. Things just go “differently.” A child who navigates assignments and social relationships nicely may hit a snag and need support. A teacher who is reliable and always on top of things may encounter a challenge that requires her to further develop her skills to best address the needs of one particular student, though these skills may eventually serve many. A well-designed schedule may be interrupted by a fire drill or an unexpected visitor. Things change, and we need to be ready to embrace the changes.
One of the reasons I was drawn to the field of education was the prospect of working with individual students, getting to know them and supporting them as they navigate the world of school. I believe that is true for many teachers. Though group dynamics are interesting and often lots of fun, it is knowing students and exploring various lessons that make teaching worthwhile. The variety presented by each individual and the adaptations made to lessons are what make this work most interesting. After teaching for 5 or 10 years, one could say he has “got it down” and is an experienced teacher. Maybe. But what we can’t say, even after 15 or 20 years of working in schools, is that it is the same. It is anything but. The more we learn, the more we have to learn and explore with students. The more things change, the more we need to consider those changes and their impact on our instructional practices and the children in our classrooms.
Education is dynamic. The systems that are established to educate the young and old have their foundation in understanding how humans learn best and what the building blocks of learning are, and then establishing a curriculum that supports these things. They are strong systems and have served to educate us for decades. What we need to remember is that although these systems are foundational to creating an educated citizenry, they are not the most important aspect of education. The people are; the humans who make up our schools are who we learn with and from. The differences and the energy of students and schools make us eager to go to work each day and learn from each other. It is often interesting and seldom boring.