I am blessed. I’m blessed for many reasons, but the one that is soon to come is I’ve been asked to host a workshop for an educational conference in Toronto, presented by my union, OECTA.
My presentation is on Equity in Education, on being a woman in the education field and the gender biases we face, the lack of collaboration, and the unintentional gender biases we place upon our female students. This presentation is more for staff members to be more aware of their thoughts and their actions so to create impact-ful change for women as a whole.
But I recognize this: Change comes from within [the classroom]… not from standing on a stage.
In this digital day and age, everyone is a prophet. Everyone has something to say and everyone believes it to be of value. Everyone wants to shoot up their follows on Twitter and everyone wants to have their moment in the spotlight. They attribute standing on a stage and telling a few, or hundreds, or thousands how to be as success.
In the field of education, that, to me, is not success.
Firstly, everyone, excited by a meaningful presentation full of anecdotes, quotes – likely formulated by rewording someone else’s thoughts – and funny stories, leaves a presentation feeling invigorated. Now, that time you spent listening to an adult tell you how your classroom should be could have been spent asking a child how they would like their classroom to be. That should be what truly invigorates you.
Secondly, educators speaking on stages around the world are going on, telling people how to make it for and about the students, but the students are not the ones on stage. Those adults stand tall, get the tweets and retweets, gather the social media fame, and have made it about them. Plain and simple. People don’t retweet and praise the accomplishments of students and their ideas, they continue to praise the ideas of other adults, many of whom haven’t spent a full day in their own classroom in a long, long time.
So, what’s the deal? We are blind, in this digital age, by social media fame and refuse to recognize these new born prophets as anything but a waste of time and energy. They are great! They are holy! Don’t question where their ideas come from, don’t question if they’ve spent time speaking to students about change, don’t question them, the great prophets of now.
A friend of mine, Paul Gorski, once said that if it’s good equity work – whether social, educational, gender, etc – it will make you uncomfortable. All these smiling selfies and excited tweets don’t scream good work, they scream facade, charade, and self-righteousness. If we are still talking about change, maybe we should question where these ideas of change are coming from.