Why does the pendulum in education swing from one extreme to the other?
When I first began teaching, I heard the “old timers” during staff meetings, PD training or workshops say things like “Here we go again,” and “Isn’t that just like…” and even, “I won’t go back to that again!” I could almost hear their eyes rolling. Being the new kid on the block back then, I thought that those teachers were just negative and set in their ways. I was sure that I would guard against becoming resistant to change.
Now I’m the “old timer” and I like to think that I can go with the flow and embrace change as it betters my teaching and engages students. However, I caught myself at a recent summer workshop saying, “Isn’t that just like…”. WOW! What an aha moment for me. After 20 years in education, you do see how great ideas are recycled and renamed. And how bad ideas are recycled and renamed. Many of those so-called negative teachers just had the insight from experience.
So why does the pendulum continue to swing? If we as educators have so much more knowledge now about how the brain works and how students learn best then ever before, then how come we can’t seem to get it right? I am baffled by this trend from government to district administration and down to the building level including teachers. Government changes standards, states and districts change assessments and teachers try to keep up. I am guilty. I thought that being on the “bandwagon” meant that I was on the cutting edge and doing the best for my students. Now…I think that having an arsenal of resources is the key. There isn’t one way or even the best way. The best way is what is best for that group that year or that individual. Maybe the pendulum needs to stop rocking and we just need to continue to learn so that we can pull what we need when we need it. No more eye rolling needed.