Who Are We Letting Keep Score?
Arguing is normal right?
I mean my three-year old son and eight year old daughter argue quite frequently. Sometimes they are pretending and sometimes it gets real. In fact, recently my son has started walking up to my daughter and asking her if she wants to play Fight. It is a game where they kick and punch and push each other. Now they always insist it is only pretend. Yet we all know how this game ends.
But the other day, after hearing me warn them numerous times to be careful, my son asked my daughter if she wanted to play Best Friends.
Did my ears deceive me?
Does this mean that the Harper House will now and forever be a calm oasis of happiness?
Fight is played much more often in my house than Best Friends.
But maybe, just maybe I can start gradually tipping the balance in favor or Best Friends.
How does this relate to education?
Let me explain.
I do my best to keep up with and follow as many members of my PLN as possible. I read blog posts, participate in hour-long chats and I check my Twitter feed probably more than I should. And of all the things that I read about, observe and/or watch there is one thing that brings me more joy than anything else by far. There is not even a close second!
People enjoying each other’s company
Or as my son would say, “people playing Best Friends”
Do you ever notice the happiness on your PLN’s members faces when they are together? It is wonderful! The conferences, the edcamps and the professional development are all great. But the best moments always seem to be when folks are just together and they are happy because that is enough. In fact it’s not just enough, that is IT!
But are we sending this message to our students and for that matter our staff? Or are we sending the message that the ultimate goal is a high test score or a perfect performance rating? Certainly everyone wants to reach their full potential, but at what expense?
“There are times I think I’m doing things on principle, but mostly I just do what feels good. But that’s a principle too.” Brian Andreas
Do we always have to keep score?
Does there always need to be a winner?
Do we always need rankings and ratings?
I sure hope not!
You see, we are able to store vast amounts of numbers in our heads. But that’s as far as they will ever get. Numbers never reach the heart. And they don’t even get near the soul. They are locked out. And eventually they realize that they have no way of getting in. So they vanish into thin air. Making room for the next futile attempt.
Now close your eyes for just a moment and think back to your happiest memories from the past few years. Do you see numbers or are you feeling moments? I am fairly certain I know your answer to this question.
I can show you what I saw and there were no numbers involved!
In the end maybe we do need to keep score,
and maybe there does need to be a winner,
and maybe I do have to have a ranking.
Okay, I can live that.
But here are my scorekeepers, my referees and my raters. And you know what? I feel pretty darn good about how it’s going to turn out!