Education is like traffic.

Education is like traffic…

It all started with a tweet:

Mr. Anderson ‏@matthewquigley Is traffic a metaphor for education? Everyone in line, but no one really going anywhere. Cc @ktenkely

After reading this tweet, I kept thinking about this metaphor.  Here are four I thought of and I would love for you to share your thoughts. 

4 ways education is like traffic.

1.    Everyone in line, but no one is really going anywhere.

This is SO like education.  The hurry up and wait scenario.  Everyone is supposedly headed toward the same destination but moving at a turtle’s pace. Maybe that is because we are traveling the same road as everyone else to get there.  And truth be told most are traveling the crowded road because they have ALWAYS traveled on that road to get there.  I doubt some even notice the scenery (the students they are teaching) anymore.  It becomes monotonous. Driving with no thought is dangerous. So is teaching.

2.     What do you do when you are stuck or lost?

People have different reactions to being lost or on a road that is at a stand still.  Some stay on the route planned no matter how delayed because going a different way is frightening.  I have met so many teachers with this view.  I don’t understand the fear because if does not go well, they can always fall back on what they know. So why not try something new?  Others reference maps or use a GPS (which is one of my very favorite inventions EVER) to solve being stuck or lost.  Both work well as long as the map or the GPS is updated.  It is limited to the last update.  If you are not reading, collaborating with a PLN or discussing new ideas in education, then you still may not end up where you want to ultimately want to be.

3.    Are you following or leading?

Just a simple thought. You can do both but just know who you are following and where you are leading others.

4.    Why not take the scenic route a.k.a the road less traveled?

Others have shared the best alternative routes.  Trying to avoid heavy traffic, I called friends that lived near the area. The trip may have taken longer but the benefit was seeing new things. Detours and alternate routes are like new educational tools and ideas. Twitter was one detour for me.  Our tech coach shared it and for the next 3 days I immersed myself in it. YES, it took a while to get where I wanted to be but now it is my favorite route to go for new ideas, comments, suggestions and encouragement.


So what is your destination as an educator? How about for your students? There are many ways to get there.  The choice is yours!


Why a Phoenix?

So this is my first OFFICIAL blog post on my very own blog.  I thought I would explain the meaning of the blog title as my first post, so here you go.

There are many meanings and symbols surrounding the phoenix.  Here are the ones that resonated with me as an educator on a journey to become better.

 To most the Phoenix may represent a new beginning, that no matter how bad things may get you will rise out of the ashes.

I have had many “rebirths” as a teacher and all of them were hard at first.  One was moving from the school I grew up in to a much more progressive and “out of the box” thinking one.  To teach with freedom was scary because I had never had it.  I was waiting for someone to show me how they did it and it was very clear from the beginning that they were open to me trying new ideas.  It was the reason I moved schools in the first place. I felt like I could not breathe under all the restrictions and “scripted” programs at my old school yet this new freedom was frightening. BUT MY HOW AMAZING it was after the “fire” of adjusting!  I was excited about trying new things and my school supported me.  I was out of that box FINALLY after 13 years of trying to change a system that was still thinking like the 1950’s.  The other “rebirth” was joining Twitter. I will save that story for another time.

I think the educational system  needs a “rebirth.”

It’s time.  It’s time for the passionate, “on fire” educators to cry out and change their surroundings.  A phoenix is supposed to sing a beautiful song.  I find those who inspire me do the same thing with their blogs, tweets, and conversations. We need to rethink what we have been trained to do and start doing what we need to do for students.  Start looking for  fires from other educational phoenixes that have already gone through this process.  Read their tweets and their blogs. Check out the resources they share. GET PLUGGED IN and let’s burn off the old to make way for the new.

When you go through the process, you are still you but now you have the chance to grow.

The joy of this process is you still carry all the experience and knowledge from before but you can renew and grow again.  You can teach an old dog (or old bird) new tricks.  The phoenix is the same bird as before, just reborn.  I love the thought of being reborn as an educator with the knowledge and wisdom of 21 years of teaching.  Being an educator is exciting when you are constantly learning.

 On a personal side-note:

The phoenix is also a nod to Harry Potter which I LOVE.  I love that Fawkes (Dumbledore’s phoenix) was loyal and his tears could heal others.  I think sometimes our hardest moments which produce many tears can heal someone else going through the same thing.  Also, the early church used the phoenix as a symbol of Christ since the myth states that the phoenix rises out of the ashes three days after burning.  Being a follower of Christ, I like this symbol.

Disclaimer: There are many other meanings of the phoenix symbol that are not part of my belief system.