Yesterday I was reading a book (Linchpin) by Seth Godin and had this ah ha moment. It is a book about business and as I read – I realized I was reading about the state of education. I just had to share it. Listen to this (I will be replacing the word “business” with the word “education or teacher”:
You want a cookie-cutter (education) that you can scale fast, without regard for finding, nurturing and retaining talent – it is the Rule of Ordinary People. Here's the problem, which you've already guessed. If you make your (education) possible to replicate, you are not going to be the one to replicate it. Others will. If you build an (education) filled with rules and procedures that are designed to allow you to hire cheap (teachers), you will have to produce an (education) without humanity or personalization or connection. Which means that you will have to lower your quality. Which leads to the race to the bottom.
Indispensable (teachers) are the race to the top.
Godin's point is that the whole focus in business has been to produce products as cheaply as possible. In order to do that – you have to make employees easily replaceable. You have all watched the fall out as thousands of jobs were outsourced to the lowest priced labor in the world. The good news is that Godin is saying this model of business is dead. There is a new way – the way of indispensable talent.
I assert that this old business model of the easily replaceable labor is what education is currently experiencing in its financial crisis. Larger classrooms, fewer rights, no raises . . . . more accountability.
But I just love Godin's point of view. It applies to education. The race to the top can only be realized in the indispensable talent of teachers.
So my message to you today is simple.
You are indispensable.
You are the source of all that works in our educational systems.
Thank you for teaching in this high pressure, high stakes environment. Thank you for bringing your heart and soul in the face of unreasonable pressure. You matter. If we strip away all the assessments, the data, the evaluations – the truth rests quietly waiting for acknowledgement. Education is a journey of the heart. An exceptional education is born from passionate, inspired educators who commit themselves to the task of learning with their students.
You have a gift to give.
A deep stirring to make a difference.
You were born for this work.
We cannot allow the machine of education to deny us our task.