The Five Things I Want For Christmas

As we enter the holiday season, we are inundated with ads telling us what we need to buy our loved ones for the holidays. Of course, I enjoy giving and receiving gifts as much as the next person, but in the interest of infusing some sense (hopefully!) into this season, here is my education-based Christmas list.

1. I want the educational community on Twitter to grow even stronger, more inspirational, and more supportive.
Thousands of educators around the world share my opinion that Twitter is the best form of PD, so let us keep sharing ideas, opinions, and viewpoints. We are all in this together, and though we might not agree on every issue, the exchange of ideas and opinions makes us all better educators.

2. I want the debate on whether or not EdTech has a role in today’s schools to move beyond that basic question.
By now, it should be clear to us that technology is here to stay. Like it or not, the educational experience has forever changed, and instead of debating whether technology is beneficial or harmful for our students, let us instead focus our energy on figuring out how to use these tools to serve our students in the possible fashion.

3. I want teachers who do not feel comfortable with technology to be encouraged and supported, instead of criticized and shunned.
Too often, I see blog posts and articles arguing that teachers simply need to get on board with technology, and those who do not will simply be left behind. I wish for a more nuanced debate where we devise methods to support all teachers so that they can be as successful as possible in the classrooms of the future. A couple of weeks ago, Josh Stumpenhorst tweeted the excellent point that there is sometimes a sense of superiority on behalf of so called “connected educators” vis a vis “non-connected educators.” Let us move beyond that, and instead work together to support all kinds of teachers.

4. I want schools to place even more emphasis on teaching problem-solving, preferably in a real-world setting.
I discussed this topic a few days ago, but it bears repeating. In order for students to be productive members of our future society, we need to break down some of the barriers between our disciplines, and teach students how to solve complex problems, using skills taught in different subjects. Our society is becoming incredibly complex, and just about any future job will require a much more nuanced skill set than ever before.

5. I want the public discourse surrounding teachers, administrators, and education in general to become more positive.
Let us make a concerted effort to spread the good news of what is going on in our schools. Publish a blog post, contact your representative for local or federal government, tell your friends and family, be an active participant in as many forums as possible. Any negative attitudes towards education will not change themselves; instead, we need to engage with these issues. Many already do, but more of us can lend our voices to this debate.

6. (A bonus, more personal one). I want to continue to feel extremely fortunate to be a teacher. 
As with any job, not all days are great but overall, I absolutely love what I do. I hope that feeling never diminishes.

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