Yesterday Tom Whitford wrote a very thought-provoking piece titled, “Reform, It’s Not As Easy As You Think”. His pieces always make me think, but this piece made me think more than usual because it was about a topic that I deal with every day.
The moves to the Common Core Curriculum and the New Teacher Evaluation system in my district have not been easy ones, but I do feel in the end they will prove to be what is best for students, teachers and administrators. There will be growing pains and there will be steps backward, but that is to be expected when changes are being implemented.
Reform, as defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “to improve (someone or something) by removing or correcting faults, problems, etc.”
I am certain that we all wish that these changes, these reforms, could take place just a little bit faster. We all want to get there as soon as we can. That is, if we can even agree on where there is.
While Tom’s piece was my motivation for writing today, a passage in The Road, written by Cormac McCarthy, helped to crystallize my thinking on this issue of reform and change. The book is about many things, but it is mainly about the relationship between a father and son as they attempt to reach the coast in a post apocalyptic world. In the scene below, the father and son are discussing how far they are from the coast, and how they are going to go about getting there.
Do you know where we are Papa? the boy said.
How sort of?
Well. I think we’re about two hundred miles from the coast. As the crow flies.
As the crow flies?
Yes. It means going in a straight line. Are we going to get there soon?
Not real soon. Pretty soon. We’re not going as the crow flies.
Because crows don’t have to follow roads?
They can go wherever they want.
You see, unlike crows, we can not go wherever we want. We must follow certain roads and we must jump through certain hoops. That is simply how the game is played.
We are in exciting times right now and through the power of the internet and Twitter we see what is possible. We all want to teach like Star, lead like Tony, innovate like Eric and inspire like Todd. But it takes time. And there is no straight path. So for now, we need to heed Tom’s advice and “excuse ourselves a little as we prepare for the changes that need to take place, and accept that not everyone changes at the same pace.”