A New Year’s Wish

December 28, 2010
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
- T.S. Eliot

As we prepare to welcome in the new year, I thought I would share some of my personal thoughts with you about the future and our role in preparing our students for that future.

The above quote from T.S. Eliot really got me thinking – What will be next year’s language?  What beginning will this ending of 2010 offer our students?

To be sure, our kids will need to be instilled with a respect and love of knowledge.  As their standard of living begins to decline, will they turn to education as their salvation, or will they turn inward and indulge in bitterness and fear?

I think this is the “voice” for next year’s words: Rediscovering the desire to learn.  Igniting the curiosity that has been dormant in so many of our students.  Think about it, how much of your time is spent trying to teach kids who don’t want to learn?  We call ourselves “edutainers” and attend in-service after in-service telling is that we must engage our students.

WE must engage our students.  We must provide them connections, as if we must somehow justify the content that we convey.  “Why do we need to know this?” they ask.  Why do they need to study math? History? Language?

Because knowledge is the key to knowing your options.  Knowledge will unlock the hidden fortune that others may pass by.

But it’s more than that.  People must know enough to ask questions and to fuel their own curiosity.  They must know enough to ask questions.

Questions make things interesting.  Details add an element of suspense.  “How exactly did they build the tunnels in World War I.  Shovels?  Wouldn’t they have gotten shot?”

Can you imagine a future where you might have a class full of these types of questions?  How hard would you work to help your students to find the answers?  How much time and effort would you put forth?  Would it matter if they paid you more or made your classes smaller?

Or would you come alive as an educator and help your students seize their futures?  I bet you would be like me and be part of an exploding chain reaction of knowledge.  You wouldn’t be edutaining or using tricks from your “tool box” to keep kids awake.  You would be doing everything in your power to remove the barriers and watch your kids blast their way onto the world stage.

That would be an incredible future.  What a “voice” for next year’s “words”.  And as we enter the end of 2010, I look forward to the new beginning of 2011.  And for all of us, I hope you will find those students whose questions stimulate their own curiosity.  I hope that you will be honored with the opportunity of helping a child uncover opportunity through knowledge.  I hope you will be rewarded with the experience of being an educator, not an edutainer.

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