So simple, we made it complicated…

Can someone tell me again why adults were put in charge of education? Let’s admit it, we can beat the joy out of anything.

Both of my children didn’t sleep well last night. My daughter had monster dreams and my son was tossing and turning. Ah yes, back to school. Back to making sure that you follow the rules, turn in the assignments, remember what the adult told you to do. Try not to do anything wrong.

Sure, a healthy bit of anxiety or stress allows us to be alert, perform, etc. etc. If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.

Ok, but why is something so simple, made so complicated by the adults? Why do we bury the promise of another school year with policies, rules, standards, logistics, and more meetings than you can shake a stick at?

I have read a LOT of mission statements. Many of them contain some form of the phrase “lifelong learners.” My impression of this is that children become filled with something so inspirational, so motivational, that they somehow innately pursue this learning for a lifetime. The problem is that we forget this quickly when we get caught up in what I call “the adult” approach to teaching and learning. It’s so serious, it stops being fun, so caught up in the tangible, that it becomes ‘lifeless’ learning.

Really? Is that what we are doing? One of the liveliest conversations during our faculty orientation was about the attendance policy and plagiarism. One teacher remarked, “grading is our currency.” I closed my eyes for a moment and imagined the joy leaving the room. Back to work.

Don’t feel any pressure, but students should be running TO your classroom, not away from it. You shouldn’t have to worry about attendance because they want to be there.

Yes, I’m idealistic. That’s why I work in education.

Please, on behalf of the kids, make the simple joy of learning for a lifetime your one and only priority.

Bon Chance

About Stephen Dexter, Jr.

Stephen is an international educator and administrator. A native of the United States, he lives with his wife Stephanie (a specialist in families in global transition) in Croatia along with his daughter and son. With a career that spans over twenty years in public, private and international schools, he writes when he can and is on a quest to discover if "text walking" is changing the human brain.
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