The reflections that follow originate from when my wife and I traveled to Chicago in June of 2015. A celebratory evening for a milestone of 20 years of marriage together. We dined at RPM Italian, enjoyed time together without our children and attended a U2 concert.
It wasn't my first time witnessing U2's music making brilliance. The difference now from then -- It's impact on me as a middle aged adult educator is meaningful in a much more profound manner than it was when I was an 18 year old fan. No longer is it only the fact that I love the music. Rather in this moment I relate to their message and their tireless efforts to be more than artists but to be difference makers.
U2's stage is more than a place for presenting their musical talents and artistic expressions. They've transformed a physical platform into an avenue to publicize our worlds ills. U2 wills us to be active members of society, to correct injustice and to cure others pain. Organizations such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Red benefit from the due diligence and dedication of U2.
Like U2 educators have a stage.
Each and every day educators take the stage. It's a stage shared with an audience of young minds awaiting daily guidance and leadership.
"This desperation, dislocation
Revelation, in temptation
As educators our goal is to plant within each young mind the seeds of compassion, creativity, critical thinking and to prepare them to solve the problems that beseech us as a people.
Be "Bad." You can "Let it go." Don't let these uncontrollable issues allow you to vary from your true mission. Hold firm to your creed. Continue to engage learners through real life project based learning activities. 21st Century students must understand that a wrong answer or complete failure on a test for that matter is fine. Instruct students to over-come adversity. Pass-on the knowledge that the greatest of achievements blossom from nutrients of the worst storms. As educators our goal is to plant within each young mind the seeds of compassion, creativity, critical thinking and to prepare them to solve the problems that beseech us as a people. Morally and ethically it's okay to stay true to quality instruction. Don't teach to the test. Lead student learning. Inspire student imagination. Promote educational innovation. Weave, entwine and embed state curricular requirements and standardized test preparation within lessons.
"If I could, through myself, set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away, see you break, break away
Into the light and to the day."
Know now that you're not alone in this world of education. Find a common voice. Team up with other educators for support and to share ideas. Use Twitter and Google hangouts to connect to and work with other educators from around the world. Collaborate with other educators to advance your pedagogical needs.
Educators return from your summer professional development reinvigorated and ready to be "Bad." You're armed with the righteousness to lead learning to the multitudes that enter your classroom. One size doesn't fit all. From the impoverished pupil, to the family fragmented freshman, to the special needs learner, to the socially shy student, to the overly active scholar -- educators lead instruction to one and all. "You're wide awake, you're not sleeping." Your mission isn't to test students. It's your mission to lead students to imagine, innovate and inspire ways to make a better world.
Hearts and Minds - U2
P21.org - 21st Century Ed. Framework