Awhile back I wrote on the “professional malpractice” of failing to move teaching and learning into the 21st century. I realize there are many reasons (excuses) for failing to do so, such as inadequate resources, improper or insufficient training, restrictive administrative policies, etc. Jeff Utecht recently wrote a nice, short post on what is likely the most commonly heard excuse, “I don’t have time.” He takes something of a Heidi Hayes Jacobs “no excuses” kind of slant (which I really like). I acknowledge it’s a bit of a lazy blog post here, but, given the lack of posts by yours truly recently, anything is noteworthy. Besides, the discussion Jeff has started is worth having. If you get the chance, stop by his site and read the post and comments, then join in with your own contributions. You may disagree vehemently, but any good debate has to have two sides, doesn’t it?
Ewan McIntosh posted a link to a great list of The Top 100 Lamest Excuses for Not Innovating to his Del.icio.us account today. A few particularly relevant ones to those of us in education (some with commentary):
- I don’t have the time.
- I’ll be punished if I fail. (Education translation: If my kids fail I’ll be punished.)
- My home life will suffer. (Read a blog? Lost is on tonight!)
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (Might want to define “ain’t broke.”)
- Now is not a good time to start a new project. (When, exactly would be a better time?)
- Been there, done that.
- I’ve never done anything like this before. (Or, I’ve always done it my way, and it has worked fine.)
- We need more data.
- Summer’s coming. (In the fall, it won’t work either, because I’ve got tests to prepare for.)
- I’m not sure how to begin.
- We need to focus on the short term for a while. (Or, they can try that next year.)
- What we really need are some cost cutting initiatives. (We’ll be cutting down on the training and tech budget.)
- Maybe next year. (Too bad the real-world can’t and doesn’t wait to change.)
Innovation is not easy, and it does not happen overnight. However, it is all to easy to cling to the status quo in the name of accountability and familiarity. What makes innovation vital to educators, however, is the fact that our students will enter a world vastly different from the one we entered decades ago (for those of us old enough). When we can put our excuses aside, we can not only better prepare our students, but we can also revitalize our careers, as long as the change undertaken is seen as meaningful and challenging. Regardless of the difficulties, we owe it to our children to venture beyond our comfort zones.