Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Socks

Every year my father gives me socks for Christmas. For the past 31 years I have eyed the puffy package under the tree and I smile. As I got older it became a joke that no matter what, I would receive a pair of socks for Christmas. Needless to say, there was no surprise this year, I got new socks, six pairs to be exact. After the holidays were over I was putting away Christmas gifts and cleaning up from the festivities. Lying on the bed were those six pairs of socks. Before I shoved them into my sock drawer, I went through the socks I already had and threw out the old ones. I live by the theory that if I am going to add something new to my life, there is something I need to reassess or get rid of. So, as I added new socks to my drawer, I got rid of some old ones. Where am I going with this?
I often hear from teachers that there are so many new technologies, theories, ideas, etc out there, where do I begin? My advice, pick something, and do it. After you have picked something new, drop something old. The word overwhelming pops up often. As teachers we create an overwhelming experience. If we are going to embark on a new idea or project in our classrooms or schools, we need to assess the situation and push forward with that idea and not feel obligated to continue to do it the old way and the new way. The old way will always be there, and the new way will never live up to the potential until we fully embrace it.
I've been away from this blog for a long time because I have not fully embraced it and dedicated myself to it. I have decided to look through my sock drawer and throw out some of the old socks to better focus myself on this blog and the self reflection I need to be a better teacher to my students, and leader to my coworkers. My good friend Lisa said it best to me in a tweet this morning......"We don't need to add, we need to replace." Here's to new socks for all!
A funny side story to the Christmas socks: My significant other saw the old socks in the garbage and thought it must be a mistake, so she put them back on the bed. I came upstairs from working out and saw the socks on the bed. I thought to myself, "Am I losing it?" I again threw them away. Guess what? They reappeared again about an hour later. We discussed how that anecdote is a metaphor for what we see in education. People are so scared to let go of what they have always done and need constant reassurance that trying something new is going to to be ok.

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