In the middle of reading my new book, Your Child's Strengths by Jenifer Fox, I realized that I seem to be on this 'system theme'. How systems are structured makes a phenomenal difference on the outcome of all that exists within this system. So imagine my surprise to find out that this author also addresses this issue of systems and their ability to inspire or break our spirit. My book fairy has been working overtime obviously for me to always run into JUST the right book.
One quote from this book which I love and want to use as my overall guiding post concept for my next year of teaching at a new school system was, " Strong lives are those that are marked by a sense of purpose, connectedness, resilience, and fulfillment." She continues, "Children are not different from adults. They want clear and realistic goals, expectations for their futures, and systems that will allow them to arrive at those goals feeling fulfilled and strong. They also want a voice in setting those goals and expectations for their future."
What a powerful and clear guiding post for any teacher. For the past 15 years as an elementary teacher my primary goal has always had been to help make strong lives. The corporate reformers have come to education and ridiculously complicated it into numbers and data and studies and more numbers. But education is way more simple than these researchers and business people would want you to think. Education is just about inspiration and engagement. You have both those ingredients and you WILL have success. Unfortunately today, education is driven by business-minded leaders, lawyers, economists and entrepeneours. I don't think there is one teacher out there whose head is not spinning out of control with all the new initiatives being started and thrown their way each year; it's a shame for our children and our whole country.
If you think the effects on our children must be minimal. Think again. How can these teachers make our children strong human beings if they themselves are attacked, belittled, blamed and their systems are specifically structured to perpetuate these negative ideas and concepts? How can public school teachers of today reach their goals of teaching for strength when they themselves have no say or voice in where education is going in their very own profession? We don't need a fancy Harvard study or pages and pages of data to know that a disempowered generation of teachers will not and cannot empower a whole new generation of children. We are depleting our children's education from the last real resource they have to becoming strong, fulfilled human beings, an empowered and inspired teacher.