On my way to a presentation this morning I drove down a familiar road, one that I've traveled countless times and one that offers great scenery to enjoy. As I drew closer to my destination I noticed some large machinery near a gas station that had recently relocated to a different part of town. The station had sat empty for a while in the hopes that someone would take it over, but alas, that did not come to pass. The gas station was not that outdated, but customers were demanding the latest innovations in the world of petroleum and convenience goods.
This started me thinking about how we respond to our customers, our students. As May unfolds it is the time of year when we walk with our feet in two different worlds; reflecting on the past year, while starting to look ahead. Many teachers decide to tweak certain things from the past in an effort to improve their art, and I think it's important to be ever-evolving in the world of education. But when is it time to tear it all down and start from scratch? This does not mean abandoning the goal of student learning, just like the gas station did not abandon their goal of providing the best customer service they can in a timely manner. But when are tweaks not enough? Tearing it all down can be a scary proposition, and sometimes the fear of the new can stop us from letting go of the familiar.
How do you know if it's time to make some big changes in how you teach? I think it is safe to say there will be different indicators for different people, but here are a few questions I ask myself each year:
As always, comments are welcome.