Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Chanukah Message for All Educators

Today I RT the following tweet “@cleanapple Sir Ken Robinson: "If you work in education, you are in the miracle business."#TIES10 “
This got me thinking that during this time of year when we, Jews, celebrate the Miracle of the Oil and the Menorah that I would post a Chanukah message to educators.

There are many customs on Chanukah but only one mitzvah (commandment) and that is to light the Menorah. Some use olive oil but candles can also be used. There is something that is unique to a flame or a candle and that is no matter how many other wicks or candles it lights it still shines as bright as it did before. The Midrash uses this analogy when it describes Moshe’s (Moses’) feelings when he had to appoint the 70 Elders. The Rabbi’s teach us that even though he gave from himself some of his prophetic powers if you will he was not diminished in any way.

I think the message is clear for educators. No longer does the old model of “do it because I am the teacher” work with our students. We need to share with our students. Someone mentioned during the December Elluminate Session by Connected Principals that they have students teach the teachers about certain things with regard to technology. What a great idea and a great way to get students to be a part of the learning process.

However teachers are afraid to give up control of their classroom. They fear that they will be viewed as being vulnerable. I say the opposite is true. Your students will come to respect you more and having student buy in and engagement will only lead to less “control” issues in the classroom

Let’s remember the analogy of the candle. We need to give up some of our “power” and “control” and empower our students with that power. In the end this will allow our students to shine and we will still be shinning bright.

May we continue to light the way for our students and see the miracles of education daily

1 comment:

  1. Good points throughout - with the central one being on giving up control. If the purpose of schooling, and therefore schools, is to help people learn, then the assumed model of teacher as gatekeeper and keymaster (sorry, Ghostbusters on my mind right now) is inappropriate, because it focuses on means, not ends. In 11 years of teaching I have realized that what my students learn is far more important than anything I do.

    Of course, what I do, and how I relate to my students as people and learners are critical variables in that process of them learning, but the focus must always be on the outcome, not the process itself.

    Thanks for the personal, insightful, and immediately relevant words.