After having made my way through the first day back from winter break, I find myself in a reflective mood. Throughout the evening, my Twitter feed has been filled with great observations from all over the world with links to thoughtful blogposts about every imaginable topic. I do not want to sound too sappy, but all of this makes me believe that in many ways we are blessed to be educators today.
Yes, I know, the discourse surrounding education is not all that positive at the moment, and I am fully aware of the fact that educational systems around the world are facing more deep seated and more complex problems than ever before.
And, yet at the same time, I cannot help but be optimistic about the future of education. A quick glance at my Twitter feed fills me with pride and hope as I learn what other educators are doing in their classrooms. And it strikes me that this is a new phenomenon that we should not take for granted. At no other point in history have teachers from around the world been able to share ideas and learn from each other to the extent that is possible today. This is truly a unique opportunity and I hope that as many people as possible take advantage of it. Only a couple of decades ago, it would have been almost unthinkable to connect fifth graders from Iowa with fifth graders from Texas in a Mystery Skype session. It would have been nearly impossible to in an instant learn what teachers in Australia are doing to keep their students engaged and motivated.
I do not think that I have ever stopped and actually thought about the enormous benefits that this can bring all of us. As recent as the 1990s, I would have been mostly confined to the ideas and opinions of people at my own school, with the added bonus of meeting people at a yearly conference. Now, at my fingertips, there is all this knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm, and it is entirely up to me to take advantage of all these resources.
Can it be overwhelming? Absolutely. Can it be intimidating? Without a doubt. But at the same time, I try to remind myself that this is an opportunity that all those teachers before me would have relished. They would have loved to exchange lesson plans with a colleague in a different state. They would have jumped at the opportunity to exchange views and opinions on the latest trends in education.
So, at the end of a pretty challenging day, I reflect on my profession, and I am hopeful. Hopeful that we can assist each other to serve our students as well as possible. Hopeful that we can draw inspiration and courage from each other. Hopeful that we can help to make all our schools better. Hopeful that we can change, in whatever small or large way, our current and future society. We have some incredible opportunities at our fingertips. Let us use them to serve our students to the best of our ability.