Yep, I was a young kid when the Beatles came out with “When I’m 64,” and now I’m almost there. Let’s take a second and think about some of the changes in our lifetimes.
Drive-in movies… where did they go? Can you believe that, at one time, all gas stations were full service, and someone really did wash your windows and check your oil every single time you filled up? Remember when the first family on the block got a color TV? Remember when party lines were telephone numbers shared by multiple homes, and you never knew when someone might be listening in on your conversation… and that was a bad thing? What happened to eight track tapes and record albums, or heck, even VHS tapes? I even remember a time without microwave ovens! Or consider all the differences in surgery today compared to just a few years ago; the advances in technology have made a staggering, and very positive, difference for patients.
If you have a 3, 4, or 5 year old child or grandchild, take a look at their toys and compare them to when you were a child.
A few months ago, a very nice woman and a great parent said to me, “Dr. Nine, I’m not ready for all this technology you are bringing to the District.” I responded, “I’m aware that you may not be ready, but your kids are.”
With few exceptions, if our kids don’t graduate with the abilities to think critically and be technologically proficient, they are destined to be second class citizens. Thanks to the FUSD community’s support for education, our children have those opportunities.
As FUSD has begun to move to the forefront in Arizona in digital education, it hasn’t come without some pain. While, in the big picture, things have moved along better than I expected, we have had some significant glitches and received some justifiable criticism. We “problem find” to the best of our ability before we implement new programs, but no one can anticipate everything. So we absolutely take responsibility for the missteps, learn from our mistakes, reset the compass points and move forward with “KIDS FIRST” forever in our sights. While some might want other districts to take the lead and work out the problems before implementing change, if you really believe in doing what is best for kids, then you lead the way.
A number of years ago, I had a boss who constantly stated, “Change is the only constant!” When you think about it, that’s obvious. Heck, every second time I visit Costco, I find something that is really cool, and I say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Even so, it is true that people are resistant to change; especially if they are good at what they do. If you are a teacher, and kids like you, your peers like you, your parents like you, and your administrators like you, then you feel pretty good about yourself, so why would you want to change? You probably wouldn’t.
Most teachers are teachers because they were good at being taught. They were taught in college much like they were taught in high school. They’ve been teaching the same way they were taught and have been successful. Now, in FUSD, we are saying we have to do it differently if we are to reach all our kids. If I’m a teacher, that could feel very uncomfortable.
Education in America virtually hasn’t changed in 150 years, but our kids of today are growing up in a vastly different world; a world that demands that how we educate must change if our students are to reach their potential.
I am exceptionally thankful for the vast majority of FUSD’s teachers who have accepted the fact that “change is the only constant” and have adapted to new expectations. It is rewarding for our kids to see the renewed excitement in veteran teachers who have discovered new techniques that allow their students to explore curriculum in very motivating ways.
Yes, change is risky, but necessary. FUSD has changed, and will continue to change, because that is what is best for our kids.
Just as medical doctors are utilizing new tools and techniques to save lives and improve the quality of life, our teachers are utilizing new educational tools and techniques to better educate a greater percentage of our kids while teaching them more conceptually than ever before.
Our teachers have had to move very much outside of their comfort zone to adapt to these changes, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them taking that risk. If you happen to see a teacher this summer, I’d appreciate it if you’d tell them that yourself. I’d really appreciate that a lot. Your child’s teacher will, too!