I still listen to my hometown sports radio station, even though I haven't lived there in over 10 years.
A recurring phrase that comes up on one of the shows is "is this a get off my lawn moment?" Sometimes the hosts will start to complain about a player, reaction, or comment made.
The idea behind a "get off my lawn" comment is that someone is reverting to their internal old man who is yelling at the kids because they are doing something wrong or different.
As a Digital and Innovative Learning Coach I have come into contact with many "get off my lawn" moments. Somewhere teachers are so set in their ways, they are not willing to discuss possible solutions or alternative ideas. Others see me or my teammates coming and they walk the other direction down the hallway.
In all honesty, education is not a cookie-cutter profession. There is not one classroom from year to year that is a carbon copy of itself. There are trends that do happen, but for the most part, each new classroom that a teacher takes on is a completely unique organism that will never be repeated.
So if innovation means making something better, creating change for the greater good, why do so many teachers yell, "get off my lawn".
The system is flawed, and COVID put a huge microscope on this. The school district that I currently work for went from having on average 5-6 Chromebooks per classroom to becoming completely 1:1. Add on top that the teachers now have to teach concurrently and it is a full recipe for Innovation and growth. The forced innovation that happened in 2020 was a blessing on the status quo of education. My hope is that enough educators found inspiration and excitement in the change. Their creativity was allowed (and continues) to thrive as we push into 2021.
Teachers should let go of the control of the content and empower their students to build up a complete understanding of learning. Challenge students to become producers and avoid situations where students are mindless consumers. Gamify the classroom to engage students more. Retire the PPT from 2004 and try something new. Adopt a new philosophy on grading. and give more feedback.
And then more feedback.
Standing in a schoolhouse now, we can't get off the proverbial lawn, because the lawn has burnt up. The ground is charred and it is time to grow something better. Will you be brave enough to take on the challenge, and push beyond what has always been into the challenge of innovation? Or will you be left behind, dreaming about what was?
Studies show that over a person's life, there is more regret for NOT doing something vs trying something and failing at it.
We have been given a gift. It's time to stop yelling about the lawn, and to start getting dirty ourselves.
Taylor currently serves as a Coordinator of Innovative Learning for a mid-sized school district in Texas. He is a speaker, writer, and coach for all who are in conflict with the status quo.