Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pushing Boundaries

I have always considered myself a rule-follower. Whether as a teenager under my parent’s roof, a young adult on my own starting a career or to this day in my 23rd year in education, I understand the importance of rules. Rules, as we know, are essential. 

While some rules are needed by society, others have been created by the changes over time. When it comes to education and instructional best practices, how do rules come into play in our profession? The reality is that in the world of teaching and learning, educators are not only consumed by "rules" but they often fall into the trap of "that is how it has always been done". 

Times are changing. Rules, and the way we do business in education, is transforming. We are working our way out of that mindset. We are growing. Innovation is taking hold. The mold is being broken, the lines are being blurred, the rules in education are changing. 

As we reflect on our journey in leading and learning, many of us have found ourselves on both sides of the equation of how rules impact our roles. More and more each day we as teachers and building leaders are acknowledging the importance (and need) of having certain rules but also embracing the importance of blurring the lines of those rules for the sake of student experience, student engagement and teacher growth. In each of those there needs to be creativity, risk-taking and a passion for growth. We must be the change. We must break the conformity in education. Being innovative is essential.

In the leadership role in which I serve, I have been fortunate to work alongside educators that want to push the boundaries of the comfort in their work. Many times it is others, myself included, that do the pushing. We challenge each other, we support each other and in the end, we trust each other in each step along the way. In teaching and learning we need to be thinking about what it is in education that has not evolved and ask tough questions and get uncomfortable. We are here to re-define education for today's student.

We know we don't get better by staying the same. Pushing boundaries brings change and change is welcomed. It is inevitable that change is going to happen. Let us control the direction in which it goes.

And when we are pushing boundaries, let's again make sure that we push with purpose. We need to be intentional. We need to be mindful.

Education is anything but a constant. Our best educators are asking the tough questions, challenging the norms and offering instruction that is anything but traditional. As you think of your leadership in the classroom, in your building or have the amazing opportunity to be in front of an entire community, promise yourself that you will push the boundaries of education. We all will benefit from this.