Grow Wings and Fly

Life is too short to spend time doing anything less than what you know is right.

So, says Astro Teller, Director of New Projects for Google. Although that is his current title, he is also the CEO of various enterprises, holds advanced degrees in areas of study that would make the average person’s brain hurt, and is also the father of four children. By most accounts he is a multi-genius. For a more in-depth look, visit www.astroteller.net.

His comment (and this is a paraphrased version) came during last Saturday’s Fall Virtual Conference session: “Teaching as Inspiration.” He was responding to a question from the community regarding the common practice of “teaching to the test.” So many educators struggle with this dilemma daily, torn between doing what it takes to get their students to pass a test, or doing what they believe will help their kids succeed in life.

But, what is “success?” How is it measured? One indicator of success could be financial affluence. Only a certain percentage of the world population today is considered “affluent.” Dr. Teller pointed out that with the global population on the rise, 20 years from now (if the affluence proportion remains fixed) children today will have to compete at 10x’s current levels to achieve affluent status. In other words, global competition is increasing and in order to succeed, a quality education focused on stimulating creativity – not conformity – is essential.

Dr. Teller acknowledges that some may take this as a challenge akin to jumping off a cliff edge, sprouting wings, and learning to fly. However, life teaches us that even the most difficult challenges can be overcome, especially when faced with confidence, creative thinking, and collaborative effort.

Surely, many teachers participating in this session departed feeling a new sense of inspiration and confidence in their teaching abilities. Hopefully that will spark further creativity in their educational practices. Furthermore, the Discovery Educator Network provides the best collaborative support community available. For any teachers conflicted with tough choices this school year, take a leap of faith…

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