Several months ago I wrote a letter to my superintendent and colleagues entitled: Is Rome Burning...?e illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read an
Is Rome Burning...? “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin TofflerThe first round of testing for the state of Pennsylvania began and ran for three Day 2s last week, and I felt likeBill Murray in Ground Hog’s Day. I don’t know what the ambiance of the rest of the schools in the district waslike, but Jefferson’s joyful spirit was erased by stress and ennui. How does a place filled with children, beings towho are naturally curious, creative, and excited, devolve into anxiety-ridden nervous wrecks? From test rippingto snacks to placate the unwilling, I have been in a spiritual crisis. I have been crafting this letter in my headsince we were invited to discuss the direction of our district, but I’m speaking from my heart today. trySimply, we are headed in the wrong direction. toI have no vested interest in blaming, criticizing for the sake of criticizing, or taking the position of a powerlessvictim. In fact, I’m motivated to engage you, my colleagues, our students, our parents, and our community inconversations about learning and teaching, relevancy, collaboration, innovation, and vision. startAt the center of this conversation should be our students. aWe are in the midst of revolutionary changes in all facets of life from the way: we govern; conversation we consume media; we create content; we organize politically and socially; we work; and how and when and where we learn.Every major sector in society has experienced a decentralization of authority and power. From the decline ofnewspapers to cable TV to the music industry to bookstores. We as schools will not be immune to fundamentalchanges. I wonder how we are adapting as an institution? How will we remain relevant? These are the types ofquestions that keep me up at night.As a teacher, I feel my role has shifted significantly since the advent of Google, Youtube, Wikipedia, Facebook,Twitter, TED, a whole host of Web 2.0 tools, and a new generation of portable devices that have emerged. Weteachers are in the midst of a revolution in the way the creation of knowledge and its transmittal are evolving.What is the role of the teacher, if knowledge is ubiquitous and can be accessible from anywhere and anytime?The way of the sage of the stage is out the door.Is this our Egypt?This is a wake-up call for teachers to empower ourselves as the architects of innovation. We will need to
Which is why I’mworking on this plan for the Western PennsylvaniaWriting Project.
SPECIAL THANKS TO...KARLA WILES, JESSE DEE, CARL PULLEIN AND ABI JONES FOR LAYING A FOUNDATION FOR REIMAGINING RESUMES. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSPIRATION.MIKE HLADIO AND SUE CARRIS FOR HELPING ME EDIT AND SUPPORTING MY PASSIONS.
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