Yeah, but…….

“Yeah, but this is how we’ve always done it”

“Yeah, but you’re a different kind of black person”

“Yeah, but she’s too direct for a woman”

“Yeah, but I don’t do technology”

“Yeah, but these kids are difficult to teach”

“Yeah, but I don’t see color”

“Yeah, but….

The infamous “yeah, but….” philosophy is rampant unfortunately around and within many educational circles. This qualifier causes a multitude of emotions to arise within me including anger, frustration, and disappointment just to name a few. When I hear “yeah, but” in conversations especially regarding educational practices, our youth, and the work individuals attempt to do in schools, I now have decided to bottle those emotions and just become alarmed (I mean a large red flag, multiple sirens going off, alarmed) and cringe instead.

Status quo, or the mindset that the way things are is good enough, annoys the crap out of me. If things are good enough, why are there huge discrepancies regarding equity in school buildings, even within the same district? If things are good enough, why are teachers leaving this profession at an alarming rate? If things are good enough, why our students graduating not adequately prepared to become life-long learners? If things are good enough, wouldn’t we see a profound number of successes from the leadership that has been in place for decades instead of a gaping disconnect?

My 4 C’s of status quo in education:  Comfort, Convenient, Condescending, and Complacent. People tend to stick with the way things are because it is comfortable for them. It is convenient to go through the motions and do things the same way day in and day out. They can sit back, lounge, and almost robotically go about their day. In addition to comfort driven work these individuals also seem to respond to new ideas or new voices in a condescending and smug fashion. They dismiss fresh voices and new things with an unfounded elitist attitude and always return to “old reliable” people and practices. It is almost impossible to maintain this mindset and not ooze unwillingness to do and work for something new and grow.

It is so important, especially now, to identify this mentality while continuing to chip away at it. We should not allow those with this mentality to hold back others who want to become and/or create the change they want to see. Our change agents must continue to “fight the good fight,” and not get deterred or sidetracked by those who are mentally stuck in the mud.

“It's not about perfect, it's about effort. Transformation happens when you implement 'effort' into your life every single day. That's how change occurs”

Status quo mindset folks have been front and center too long in education. We can and must do better for our schools, I’m calling a spade a spade. True change and transformation happen when an effort is made day in and day out to be and do better. New opportunities should be created and fresh voices should be heard or we will continue to spin like a hamster wheel in our schools. As a veteran educator, I refuse to drink the “yeah, but” kool-aid and will continue to create better educational opportunities for all students and push the envelope. I’m so glad I have connected with quality individuals who also don’t drink the kool-aid but instead collectively work daily raising our chisels to the boulder of status quo. 

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Boasting and Buzzwords…

Is education and educational technology fame really real?

In a society driven by approval, likes, and followers, I’ve noticed in my rookie journey, into the world of EdTech a bit of this mainstream norm creeping in. The desire of educators needing the approval of their peers or their desire to be the “cool kid” driving what they say and do publicly on social media and educational platforms.

Okay sorry, on a little random side note, the recent and sudden death of Prince really hit me hard. I grew up with his music and was a fan. He’s a musical icon and genius, but also from what I’m continuing to learn he was a very humble man which has resonated with me. Humility. A word for many is like fingernails on a chalkboard or a punch in the gut especially in today’s society mostly driven by self-absorption. Humility, the ability to say hey you know what, my wants will take a back seat to others. My spotlight is not so exclusive that you can’t join me, take up most of the space, and I will be okay with that. On my island where I am the queen or king, I realize the need to swim to places unlike my island and learn from others. Humility is such a really, difficult skill, but it needs in the forefront of our thoughts and actions as educators. It requires that ever so delicate taming of our own ego to even make humility possible and believe me, ego and pride are two things so very difficult for any person to whip into a cage.

More often than I can count, I am noticing on social media within the educational and EdTech community humility being replaced by boasting and work being replaced by buzzwords. Why? I believe it’s because humility and work are both very hard. Most people like, whether they will openly admit it or not, to take the path of least resistance or the easy route.  Humility and work both require sincere maximum effort day in and day out with little to absolutely no fanfare, which for many people is not worth it. Many would prefer to rather shine than grind, rather glisten than listen, to have flare than care. Educators need to remember that education is not about the limelight, followers, pats on the back, or a title. It about what we do every day in our buildings, the moments, the sweat and sometimes tears we shed to affect each and every one of our students’ lives and ultimately shape our communities. I always remind myself to check my ego at the keyboard and remember it is the work done inside my brick and mortar walls that matters more than sharing my thoughts on growth mindset and grit. What action am I taking daily to have a positive impact on students and teachers?  Do I have anything besides catchy phrases or new Twitter followers to show for my labor?

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There is a Bible verse that states “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” We need more good trees in the education forest who are less talk more action, bearing the fruit of students properly equipped to enter the world and become successful. In my mind, education and educational technology fame isn’t real, but the fruit produced is. My question to you: are you a good tree in the education forest? If you are, then show me your good fruit.