Moving the Goalposts

Exactly…

That’s just about how it feels sometimes, especially at the beginning of the school year. Just when you think you have it all figured out (unless you are a new teacher or administrator), someone moves the goal posts. It could be your board, your administration, your department head. Even you! Speaking of things moving, anyone besides me notice that the ‘back to school sales’ have now crept into late July!? But I digress.

In the education world this is a phenomenon (moving goal posts, not shopping dates) that will only get stronger as our schools race to meet the demands of changing markets. We are expected to get more tech savvy, more individualized in our approach, less institutionalized and more dynamic to meet the needs of, well, let’s be honest, EVERYONE.

But what about its impact on the people chasing those goal posts? How can we work, nay, succeed in such an environment? In fact, what are those indicators of success anyway? Students getting into good colleges? A pat on the back from the Principal? Good IB or SAT scores? A bonus check from the board? I am still trying to figure this out.

What I do know is that great learning communities aren’t worried about the moving goalposts. They know they will never catch them and doing so will burn their people out. What they are focused on is what they do really well, what students need to be centered, well rounded people who will make the world a better place. Everything else is just, well, moving.

Check out this link for more on this topic. And hang in there. You’ve had a great summer and you’re doing important work.

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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