“Being better tomorrow than we are today” is something I talk about a lot — in my daily interactions, my blog posts, in all sorts of meetings …
But, what does it mean to be ‘Better’?
I explored this this topic the other day with our school trustees and thought it might also make for an interesting blog post. So, here we are …
When I engage others in conversation about our road to improvement, I reflect on a reminder I have above my desk about the need to move forward:
“It’s OK to be where you are right now. It’s just not OK to stay there.“
These concepts of ‘being better‘ and ‘finding ways to move forward‘ form an important part of my mindset on personal and organizational growth. But, the question still remains … what does BETTER actually mean?
Education is a place where we regularly hear fears about things impinging on our schools. This is particularly true when we talk about technology. Whenever a new technology approaches we sometimes hear negative reactions from the community. Technology is great until someone says it isn’t.
“The sky is falling. Save yourself!”
Let’s review some of the historical examples of technology fear:
Calculators – when these new electronic devices became widely available and affordable in the mid 70s the fear was that they would make students illiterate in math.
Internet – this innovation provided more immediate access to information as compared to the antiquated Dewey Decimal System card catalogue in the library. It was going to create chaos in our classrooms with rampant plagiarism.
Online Learning – this new type of virtual instruction was going to completely negate classroom teachers and change education into simple, rote memorization.
Wolfram Alpha – Introduced in 2009, this new website allowed users to generate answers to mathematic problems by using the site’s formulas. It would make learning math irrelevant and allow for rampant cheating.
None of those catastrophes happened — more on this in a bit.
Fingers crossed that we’ve turned a corner. What a memorable past 3 years these have been since the pandemic started. We have done very well as a school district and a province. Yes, there have been a few stumbles along the way, but overall, we’ve come through things really well. Not bad for not having ever gone through something like this before.
Yet, there is still criticism about how we handled the pandemic (perhaps some of it justified) but there has also been a lot of personal and negative attacks. And in particular, social media, has been the platform where comments can be ruthless, insensitive, often misinformed and sometimes threatening.
Here in BC, Dr. Bonnie Henry (the provincial health officer) has been a regular target of these attacks. Throughout these past 3 years she has remained a beacon of calmness, intelligence and thoughtfulness. You may have disagreed with some of her decisions, but she had the best interests of the people in her sightlines– and she did so professionally and consistently. In my eyes, she is a hero. And yet, there has been a rather continuous stream of callous, personal attacks on her character — much of it through social media.