Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Monday, September 27, 2010

We Need To Change Our Focus

I am sitting here writing this blog during The Sukkot holiday. We don’t have any school this week and during the holiday I have had the pleasure of spending time with my family and last night we had Phillip Cummings and his family for diner. Philip is a member of my PLN that I developed through Twitter and we all had a great time. It has given me some time to reflect what has been going lately on Twitter.
I have to tell you I am a bit frustrated. I understand the negative impact that all of these latest talk shows have had plus the release of the movie “Waiting for Superman”. I have also said that since I work in the Private sector some of the issues don’t affect me as they do some of my colleagues. That being said from my own informal poll and by reading some recent Tweets it would seem there are a large number of educators that I haven’t heard of the movie and are unaware of what has been happening in the media and on Twitter.

This leads to my frustration. I as well as many others have tried to shift the focus from what the media wants to talk about to what we as educators should be talking and thinking about.
Here are some of my ideas:
• We need to be highlighting the great things many of us are doing in our classrooms
• We need to be thinking of ways we can meet the needs of our students more often
• Administrators need to be educational leaders and help teachers grow
• Teachers need to willing to let go and accept change
• We need fair and appropriate ways to measure and make sure our students are learning
• We need a system that holds all stakeholders accountable for student learning
• We need to be talking and communicating with other educators. We all should have a PLN.

We should not be:
• Blaming and pointing the finger at others
• We should not be just focusing on the negative
• We should not be finding only problems without any discussion about solutions

The things we need to be doing to improve education and improve student learning existed way before the Movie and Oprah. We need to focus on what matters; Our Students and stop focusing on things we have no control over.
Let’s change the focus to what We as Educators Need to do from reacting to what others say we do or don’t do



  1. I absolutely agree that we should be doing more positive things and focus on our students. The positive messages need to reach the public!

    However, I have to mention that staying silent, refraining from speaking out against statements from people with power (Oprah, Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, President Obama) when they spew forth blatantly misinformed rhetoric... we can no longer stand by.

    Have you ever been the victim of a vicious rumor? I have. A truly hurtful rumor. My first inclination was to speak out, but I held back. I felt that people would see my actions and know that the rumors were wrong. Unfortunately, those spreading the rumors were louder than my actions. And eventually... I had to address the rumors to save my professional reputation, which, by that time, was no easy task. Had I spoken up sooner and defended myself, the rumors could have been quelled easily and quickly.

    I feel the same way about what's happening now. People in my community who know me as an educator have listened to Oprah's show and all of a sudden changed what they think about me, as well as the thousands of other teachers around us.

    We have damage control to do, and I plan to keep doing it. All the while, however, my first priority will be to help my students be as successful as they can... but I will no longer remain silent.

    Thank you for continually reminding us to stay positive and to keep our eyes focused on our children!!

  2. A nice message and one we should all heed! It is time to speak up and share the great things that are happening in our buildings. Even in bad situations, there are good things happening. You make some great suggestions. We have to stay focused on the kids in our communities that we can influence.

    Teachers get a bad rap from the general public. They think all we do is sit back and wait for vacation weeks and collect our huge paychecks. While there are some teachers that do this; the vast majority do not. We need to seize the chance to share a different message.

  3. Michelle,
    Thank you for your comment and your perspective. I am not saying we should be silent I just think from my perspective which is admittedly different we just need to change the focus.

  4. Theresa,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree with you and while I do believe we need to share a different message with a different focus, i do think there needs to be accountability and how to deal with those "bad" teachers needs to be addressed as well. As I said there needs to be education reform and it needs to be something that is discussed openly I just think we need to address is differently.
    Again thank you for sharing your comments