Love, Hate and Then There’s You

We are the spark
We are the great
We keep our cities
Loud and proud
We keep their ears glued
To the streets
We are the underground”

                                               – The Von Bondies – “This Is Our Perfect Crime”                                                  from 2009’s Love, Hate and Then There’s You

There are times I feel a bit like a member of an educational underground. In these moments (mostly when I’m not on Twitter), it seems like the concept of 21st Century teaching and learning (or ‘New Learning’ as the always insightful Stepan coined it recently) is not very present in the way my Ministry, my school board, my school, or even my own class operates. At those times, I feel less like a member of a growing group of educators who are embracing those strategies, and more like someone lost in a wilderness of curriculum expectations, standardized test prep, real-life limitations, and doubt-imposed defaults to the status quo.

That’s why events like last Saturday’s TCDSB21C EdCamp are so important to me.  It was beautifully organized by the members of our amazing TCDSB21C Team and lead by a frenetic Mario Addesa. There I was surrounded by people who were engaged and interested in changing the way we teach and learn. Some had just started to consider 21C, while others were light-years ahead of me. Some I had met recently, while as a member of the Project neXt teaching team. Others I have known for years. Some I knew only as fellow TCDSB ‘tweeps’ before finally meeting face-to-face.

I was fortunate enough to back-up Stepan’s vision of a “Love, Hate, Continue” session. The idea was to provide a safe space for people to share the aspects of TCSB21C that scared them, excited them, annoyed them, helped them, challenged them, and made them hopeful. Educators from all over the board shared with us and we recorded the results. (Find them HERE) As always, when I meet with my fellow educators I learn about amazing projects and resources I never knew. It was terrific to hear how educators were wrestling with the same things I did. They had similar frustrations and moments of joy. They looked for encouragement for when they taught ‘outside the box’ and encouraged each other to take the next step.

We need more days like last Saturday. We need them in our schools. We need them in our board. We need them to bring together educators from around the province and the country. There are educators out their who need to share brilliant ideas, to see that there is another way to learn, and to know that they are not the underground, even if it feels like that sometimes.

“I like the beat
Of a different drum
The kind of sound
You can’t help notice
And chances are
The crowds will grow
To see the sounds below.”

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4 Responses to Love, Hate and Then There’s You

  1. Mario Addesa says:

    Wow, frenetic! That describes how excited I was to see some thing we worked so hard to put together get underway. Luke you are at the cutting edge of our profession and people in your position are always part of an underground upswell that eventually will become mainstream. Well done sir. I am so impressed by the incredible things you are doing in your classroom. I wish the entire board could see your great work.
    I have to thank you for being an innovator and having the courage to share your great work. I am also proud to call you a very good friend. Thank you.

    • No, thank you Mario. Your energy is as infectious as it was when we first met. I’m thrilled that you are a leader in this area and a model to so many new teachers. Your passion for 21c, and that of your talented colleagues will see these ideas grow in a way they never could have without you.

  2. Underground…
    I like that word. I often describe it as a very lonely place. Connections that social media provide are awesome, but nothing compares to face to face interactions with colleagues and friends that challenge you, expand your practice, mirror the frustrations you face.
    Luke, my friend, thank you for being one of those people for me. Thank you for challenging me, expanding my practice, and listening (non-judgementally) when I talk to you about the walls I hit.
    I agree with you. We need more opportunities for teachers to meet people outside of their staffroom. People that might take action and help fix our broken bits. People that might inspire and push us all to the next level.
    Hopefully this Saturday was the beginning of something wonderful.

  3. Thanks man! I really do think we’re on the cusp of something great. If educators have the courage to change. That courage will come through relationships more than any PD that a Board or Ministry could provide.

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