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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Don't Take the Easy Road

Today, I discussed the pursuit of advanced degrees with one of our certified staff members. This individual previously earned a master's degree in education and is considering the pursuit of yet more graduate education. I love that we have such dedicated professionals who continually learn and become better educators for our students. We discussed her goals as a public school educator, as well as other positions in schools that she envisions herself holding in the future. The conversation began with a discussion of taking a few additional courses that are required to earn a supervisory certificate and continued with talk about the pursuit of a doctoral degree. There is no doubt in my mind that this individual has the intellect, drive, and focus to earn a terminal degree, however, she was doubting herself and lamented about how difficult it would be for her to complete a doctoral degree. I told her of course it would be difficult, but if it was easy, then more people would earn them. This simple statement, which is a bit cliche, caused me to spend quite a bit of time today thinking about many different things in and out of education. My thoughts continued to focus on human nature and overcoming challenges.

For many people, it's enticing to take the easy road when faced with challenges that require more than ordinary effort to overcome. Most of us are confronted with these challenges on a regular basis, some more challenging than others, and how we respond is very telling about our individual character. A person's true character is often revealed only when challenged or stressed out of his or her comfort zone. It is extremely enticing to take the easy road when challenged, because one removes the challenge and justifies this decision in her or his mind by stating how difficult it would have been to overcome the challenge anyway.

As educators, we must be mindful of all of our decisions and lead by example, because we influence children's lives. Don't take the easy road, challenge yourself on a regular basis, and be the role model for hard-work and effort for your students to emulate. Share your experiences with them, and let them know how you choose to overcome challenges and difficult situations. I know you're probably thinking, "But these things aren't tested." I know they aren't, but it is, however, our duty as educators to remind our students not to always take the easy road. Individual effort and a strong work-ethic will allow our students to believe that they can overcome difficult challenges. When we emphasize these traits, we give our students the skills they need to succeed throughout life, not just on a standardized test.

Now, I just need to get our staff member to not take the easy road when the time comes for her to decide whether she will pursue a terminal degree.

6 comments:

  1. I agree..we need to set an example for our students! If we continually find the easy way around things in our lives then, how can we entice the students who depend on us to teach them that "the skys the limit"? In order to have a profound effect on others, we need to have a profound effect on ourselves first! I hope this staff member will be able the locate the drive and focus from within and believe in herself the way that you believe in her :)

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    1. Nicole - thanks for reading and commenting. You make an excellent point. As educators, we do need to start with us before we can positively influence our students. I truly believe that we need to model these traits for our students to value hard-work and effort in life. I also hope this staff member I referred to finds her drive and focus, because that doctoral degree will likely lead to an even more rewarding career for her.

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  2. As a teacher my goal is to promote students who have an endless desire for knowledge. Being a life long learner myself, curious about all that I don't know enhances my classroom discussion. To lead by example is effective and meaningful. To instill curiosity in a child naturally leads to further self educate. I would like to further my education but financially it is difficult.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Paula. I agree with all of your points, especially the rising costs associated with graduate education. We need a system that encourages and assists educators who want to continue with formal education. We should help and reward these teachers, because in the end, students will benefit. So, how do we do this?

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  3. How about enticing technology companies to make a deal with universities that would lower costs for degree programs that focus on 21st century learning to increase higher education enrollment. In return, district costs for technological tools are lowered. This is a win win situation. Teachers get skills needed to teach in this modern tech age and students will have the resources to develop skills needed in the current job market. We need someone to negotiate such a collaboration between business and education. What do you think?

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    1. Great idea, Paula. You can develop this as part of your doctoral program. Get to work!

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