Tim Holt’s new post — “Ballad of a Frustrated Staff Developer” — has stirred some thoughtful comment at our Voices from the Learning Revolution group blog. Tim, who’s an IT leader and tech integration specialist in El Paso, Texas, was clearly letting off some serious steam when he penned his poetic plea DO NOT TELL ME. It begins . . .

Do not tell me
You do not have time.
You cannot complete the assignment
Or come to training
Or take a course
Or read a blog
Or expand your own learning
Because . . .

From there, Tim recounts many of the “excuses” he’s heard from teachers about why they can’t more fully engage in shifting their instruction to meet the needs of 21st century learners. He reminds teachers that they’d likely not accept a similar explanation from their own students:

And you would say
Do not tell me
You do not have time

Do not tell me
You do not have time
Gandhi and King and Einstein
Lincoln and Jefferson and Newton
Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha
All had the same
Amount of time

Strong stuff. And while Tim received quite a few “attaboys” from others in the field who advocate for principled changes in teaching practice, he also got some pushback, most notably (so far) from PLP participant Suzie Nestico, who wrote in part:

Please understand. I do agree with you. I live it and see plenty of true ‘excuses’. However, as a teacher in a classroom for ten years, I also know that some of life’s situations are very real and unavoidable. I know that in order to teach kids, we have to reach them… and sometimes that means meeting them where they are. We talk about student passions and interests and diverse needs. Teachers are the same. It is a bit unfair to generalize that teachers make excuses for things such as a television show or assignments to assess. The latter is a crucial part of our jobs… one that is now done entirely after school hours. . .

Both Tim and Suzie mentioned PLP leader Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s oft-stated position that educators must find the time to make these important changes in the way we do school. So we weren’t too surprised when Sheryl offered her own comment at Tim’s post — in response to Suzie, but certainly aimed at teachers and school leaders everywhere who struggle to find the hours and the energy to do what matters most for kids today.

Taken together, Tim’s provocative poem and the many comments he garnered make for an important read. And it’s all bound to provoke thoughts of your own. We hope you’ll share them over at the Ballad of a Frustrated Staff Developer.

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John Norton

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