No Apologies or Apologists Necessary
How often, we are polarized by our politics, our economics, or morality. The conversation in which we hope to achieve, both intellectually and informatively, is often lost among the clouds of chatter and discontent. Let us remember, and let us begin, hopefully never to end, with the recognition that apologies and apologists are not necessary.
This is not to suggest that we never believe that we are wrong in our assertions, assumptions or beliefs, or that we should not seek comfort in others who can bond and connect, humanize with our faults, both educationally and personally. However, we have no need for apologies for our approach, to stand firm in it, to be courageous, confident and willing to obtain objects regardless of others judgments or lack of faith. Neither should we rely, associate or join in some sort of an apologist’s behavior that zaps responsibility away from each of us.
I have not seen the film Waiting for Superman, but while I may see it, I don’t have to, to already have a formulated opinion, not only about the movie, the reviews by educators, or my own educational solutions. You see, the polarization is baked right into the title, intended to separate us, politically, economically, philosophically. However, it is not that superman exists in the teacher unions or in the charter school leaders, in the principals of the public school or the head master of the private institutions, no, see there is not waiting, because superman, his cape, his creative solutions and kindness exists in each of us. We are superman. Until this is understood, he will continue to be whisked away under a cloak of suspicion, distrust and disillusionment.
Deep down, many educators are actually working for the same things, their heart, mostly, is in the right space and for the right reasons. Whether they are exposed to the ways that work best or not, is based on experience, intellectual curiosity, and interactions, but deep down, educators of all beliefs and variety want the same thing: The best way for students to learn. We might have different ways to get to that common goal and how to achieve that common goal, but we still have that common goal. So we must be confident in that, we must not apologize for that common belief, the arguments and debates can and will continue and divisiveness will not end, but if we start from that notion, how remarkably similar we will become.
Let us not be apologists for others, who do not do this, for the progressive educator who does not spend enough time on lesson plans as on theory, or the private school teacher who believes discipline is the best way to achieve specific educational marks, or the public school teacher whose hard work and heart are in the right spot, but who are blinded to the systematic concerns that harm the same students they are trying desperately to help.
You see, it is not left vs. right, or even right vs. wrong, but rather a common, passionate bond, that is often lost in the day to day grind of finally deepening and truly understanding the concept of learning. We must critically examine ourselves, walk miles in others shoes, and remember above all else, that education and learning involves all of us and makes each of us the true Superman.