E-practice: stop moaning and just do it!
After writing my ‘Dear Teacher Education Providers can you enter the 21st century‘ post I had a real mixture of emotions. On one hand the post seemed to strike a real chord amongst the twitterverse and bought a lot traffic to the blog which was pretty cool, but on the other I felt somewhat uncomfortable about the attention the post generated.
Yes I was frustrated and annoyed however it is not my style to just complain, I like to do stuff about my complaints. In a previous life I would have been researching madly, rapidly gaining signatures for petitions, lobbying officials in my university furiously in order to get policies changed. However universities aren’t known for their speedy policy-making processes which would have lead to more frustration and annoyance on my part. What’s more it wouldn’t have helped me with my problem in the here and now.
As I mulled over my problem, I decided to do something so simple that I believe a sporting goods manufacturer made a whole bunch of money out of it, just do it.
So for this Teaching Experience I’ve uploaded all my forms onto googledocs for my Associate Teacher and I to use and then will print the various forms off to keep the various powers-that-be happy. I’ll give my Associate Teacher mad props for having a go at using an unfamiliar tool and I will openly acknowledge that I’ve probably created more work for myself than following the procedures set down by the university. However I will go digital simply because I can and what’s more I’ve introduced another teacher to a tool that they can use in their teaching practice.
My situation got me to thinking of a great quote I read by Pete Seeger on the teaspoon theory of social change. He conceptualised that millions of seemingly minor actions, like picking up garbage instead of walking by it, will eventually lead to radical seemingly impossible change on a wider level. Going by this theory even a lowly student teacher like myself has power to influence ideas on a wider level simply by making the decision to do their little bit to help. Which makes me think if more people just did e-practice instead of moaning and waiting for edicts, whether it be from a university or leadership within an organisation, then the change I ranted about in my first post would happen anyway.
So why don’t we?
The problem is that nobody wants to be the shirtless dancing guy or those first few followers who risk ridicule or failure for trying something a bit whacky and out there. Moreover it’s so much easier to point at things other people have done and shout No! No! No! as you stamp your feet. But you know what’s much harder? Creating what you want. I know I’ve been guilty of criticising other people for their stuck in the past practices this, their archaic technology that, their outdated whatever because it’s a lot easier to do that than examine your own teaching practice (not to mention your own life!) and determine what you actually want from it. In short, demolition is a hell of a lot easier than construction.
But what if every day we all chose to do a little bit to contribute to a wider picture? Not only do problems seem far less daunting, but it puts the onus back on the individual to decide whether they wish to be constructive or destructive.
Going digital with my Teaching Experience documentation is hardly the stuff that future scholars of education will study as an ‘aha’ moment. In fact on scale of 1-10 of revolutionary education ideas it probably rates in negative number territory. Nevertheless I saw a problem and thought to myself ‘what is that I can do to fix it? ‘ which is a lot more productive than ranting on the internet. I also feel a lot better because I’m doing something something pro-active rather than reactive.
So I will wield my teaspoon as if it were a mighty shovel because I choose to be part of the solution instead of the problem.