A collective push to "go back" because
Well, "back" is where we belong
Yet it feels like reciting the lyrics
Without the melody inside of the song
And there is resistance, sharp and mighty
In this, some dark underlying hues
Stay open, look and listen closer
I think we can garner some clues
Education as a whole is what?
Is it reading levels, facts and tests?
Is it curriculum over connection?
Is it expecting our personal bests?
What is our end goal for students?
To deposit an arbitrary amount of info?
To create robots who consume and produce?
To imply to know means more than to grow?
This pandemic sure has thrown us-
"Schooling" cracked open and wide
There was so much failure before this too
Can we dare to step inside?
The school to prison pipe line is as real
As the institutional response to query
Get in line, do this, do that as such
Does it surprise us our vision is bleary?
It seems that creating life long learners
Would be one of the essential goals
So we must back up to find this path
Releasing square pegs from round holes
We have all the buzz words and concepts
Yet we neglect to apply it so well
We are missing the forest through the trees
Denying wisdom that our stories can tell
Our system is predicated on production
Creating consumers supports status quo
Are any of us interested in a system
Where to wonder is better than to know?
I ask all these questions today because
If we don't discuss it now, then when?
What didn't work then, won't work next
We have a chance here to begin again
So yes of course, we must all "go back"
But what will this look like to do?
Can we hold the trauma and shades of fear
Are we ready to try something new?
Each class has always deserved two staff
One to inspire, engage and teach lessons
Another to temperature check the room
Supervise and provide small check-ins
Essential is this right here, right now
For teachers both on zoom and in person
Attendance, reading levels and oh ya, feelings
Without this, we'll continue to worsen
Yet with more students and less space I question
Will protocols simply loosen and give way?
Do we try it and then wait to see what happens?
Or perhaps try a therapeutic new way?
Hire more staffing, we need adults who care
And bring in more counselors and people to play
Keep class sizes small, make schedules freer too
Rotate in large spaces and hear what they say!
I believe that logistics can handle what's next
Remember that playfulness heals and repairs
Consider what do YOU hold fondly from school?
Not rules and silence, straight lines on the stairs
You remember the outside the box stuff
The times you truly felt truly seen
You recall when you found a true strength
And with mindful work you did glean
You remember the offhanded personal stories
Your teacher may not even recall they told
You recall how true connection made you feel
You learned authenticity could not be sold
You learned serious hard skills like science,
Math, literature and history as well
Soft skills like perseverance and empathy
Or flexible thinking a much lesser sell
And this unrealized message sticks with us
Please just shut up and listen to me
Your truth and experiences are irrelevant
Get the work done, spare individuality
We cannot keep going on like this
We have a chance before it's too late
We need to inspire our children now
Educators who teach and participate
Let's remind our students how to laugh
Deeper still, because learning is fun
To be truly alive and immersed in a moment
It will be here that the real work is done
We are ALL life long learners you see
I learn this from children each day
If we take a deep breath, put agendas aside
Bravely we'll find a new way
We will follow their lead and listen
We can teach them the sound of their voice
Understanding education can be so much more
Our students deserve to have more of a choice
It is their future they seek to inherit
We wish them to have happiness and smarts
But we need to discuss how to define these
Let us begin to teach to their hearts
I know that this prose is flowery
I realize there is not lots of concrete
I encourage us to walk a different path
I am happy to sit down and meet
If you hear my intention and urging
If you see what I mean and agree
Will you take a chance and will you go there
Will you wander to wonder with me?
There is no "going back", that's all gone now
There is only what lies before us ahead
There is possibility and hope if we see it
There is so much more to be said
Let us be brave and go do it
Let us sit quiet and still 'til we know
Let us share out our new wisdom boldly
Let us be proud when we reap what we sow