This is my favorite thing to consider. I have the tendency to focus on the future without really considering its implications for the present. I love to buy or check out professional books to read, the actual reading of them is another story all together!
Last semester I took History of American Education. I am married to a historian who did one of his fields in graduate school in the history of education. Not surprisingly, this is an area that fascinates me. It is so easy to believe that the way we do things now is the way it has always been. And yet, the reality is so different. To realize that we have only had a public school system in Virginia for 150 years is astounding. Seeing this broad picture helps me to more critically analyze aspects of our educational system. It makes it clear that the "way we've always done it" is not even close to truth. People tend to argue that this method of teaching reading or of discipline is best because it is time tested and true. Yet, most aren't time tested by any stretch of the imagination. We need to look more carefully at our assumptions that are based on tradition.
This interest in considering the truths of our educational history (as best as possible) leads quite logically into an interest in educational advocacy. At this moment, I can't imagine not being in a classroom with a group of "my" students. However, I feel strongly that I want to leave the classroom before I become someone who needs to leave. So, I consider many options outside of the classroom. Educational advocacy, in some form or another, has become a fascination of mine. In a true stretch, I think of working for a politician to help shape educational policy. I believe that our country would greatly benefit from having more teachers in those positions. (Of course, when I stop to think about it, I think we need more teachers in so many different positions!)
More short term, I am looking for ways to become an advocate while still teaching. This is a challenge because of the time commitments involved in my family and my school, but it is worth considering. I have managed to go to Richmond for a few days to work on a possible restructing of the licensure system in Virginia. It was fascinating!
I would also be interested in looking at the educational systems in other countries. There are countries that seem to have made huge gains in areas in which we are lacking. There is a lot we could learn if we were willing to be critical of ourselves. I would really enjoy teaching overseas for a year somewhere to learn firsthand.
Everything I consider throughout this seems to lead me back to questions. No matter what I consider, I am left with the strong sense that it is important to question, analyze, criticize, and pull apart everything we do in our educational system today. What a tremendous job!
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