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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Teaching School: Jumping Hurdles

Teaching school can often mirror jumping hurdles. 
Countless rules, regulations, and standards can sometimes make teaching a bit like jumping hurdles.

Sometimes some wonder why teachers don't try new ideas or learn new strategies, but when systems place countless hurdles in the way of innovation and new ideas, most teachers simply aren't up to the task of facing hurdle after hurdle.

Jumping hurdles takes time, research, advocacy, and lots of extra effort, and when you're teaching the larger part of a day and planning/responding to work the larger part of the evening, there's little time left for those arduous hurdles that stand between you, innovation, and new ideas.

Today I saw a boy almost jump out of his seat with excitement about an engaging education tool. When I asked for permission, I was told I had to fill out a form and wait for multiple leaders to approve the tool for the student's at-home and in-school personal use. I did fill out one of those forms in mid-summer and have yet to hear a response. Hence this hurdle is about a two-month endeavor. Do I have the tenacity to work for multiple hours to fill out the form and then wait another two months for a yeah or a nay (most forms I've completed have been met with additional work and effort). We'll see.

In the meantime, it's important for schools everywhere to consider the hurdle quotient--are your hurdles so tall, deep, and steep that they squash innovation and new ideas, or have you decided to put the hurdles away for a while so there's momentum for the innovation run? I'm curious.