“We get there when we get there! Now shut up and sit back in your seats!” – my mom
I haven’t had much chance to write, let alone do anything else since the massive undertaking of deploying laptops to every high school student in our 6 pilot schools began in December. It’s been a interesting journey, but 2 questions kept banging in the back of my head during the entire process. Funny things is, every parent hates these questions during long trips with kids in the back of the car; “Are we there yet?” and “Why?” The first question was forbidden on our long treks from Kansas City, Missouri to Louisiana during my childhood, but I always would ask why. That only infuriated my mom further. Yet, as an adult, when my own kids ask these questions over and over and over again, I myself get quite annoyed. However, during this pilot, these 2 questions prove to be the most important questions that we need to be asking ourselves on a daily basis if not more often.
WHY?: It is vital that every decision we make, every move and countermove we put in place, every protocol we write needs to serve the purpose of serving our students. So we have to actively ask why we are even doing what we are doing. Are we handing out a laptop to fix the way a student learns. No, we are trying to fix the way we do this thing called education. Like Marva Collins, founder of the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago said, “Don’t try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. Good methods makes poor students good and god students superior. When our students fail, we, as educators, too, have failed” So we must always be in reflective mode to ask if we are fulfilling the ultimate purpose of making learning better overall for our students.
Are We There Yet?: Forces us to know what our end goal should be. Now as we learn more about the 1:1 process, it is possible that the end goal can change as we grow. However, we need to be asking “Are we there yet”, to continually gauge where we are in the process which then determine any changes we need to make to support the “Why”. At the beginning of my week, I look at my calendar, (when it’s filled out) and determine Why I’m doing what is on my schedule and then during the process, I ask myself if I am making in progress toward that end goal. By mid-week, I truly need to evaluate what I’m doing in order to ensure the expectations are met or exceeded in the end. In actually, this is how I either stay focused and/or go insane depending on where I stand in the process.
Though these questions may seem annoying in some settings, fore me, when building a 1:1 environment they are essential if we want to truly meet are students where they are.