What does it mean to be doing enough? Let’s pretend that a teacher is well-connected on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media sites learning with/from other educators. She reflects on her instruction regularly and shares those thoughts on her blog. She is in her third year of 1:1 implementation in her classroom, but makes sure that the learning is still the focus, and the technology is a resource. She differentiates based on student interest, learning mode, and ability. She has a student-centered classroom where students are assessed based on mastery, not on the practice leading up to mastery. She gets to know all of her students, treats them with respect, expects them to learn, and pushes them to exceed their own expectations. Just to add more to our hypothetical educator, she makes regular communication with parents a priority, participates in faculty meetings, and serves on several school improvement teams. Is she doing enough?
My answer would be no. Is this the description of a phenomenal teacher? Absolutely. Are there many who fit this bill. Probably not. But the answer to, “Are we doing enough in education?” is always going to be a no, in my mind. I think when we reach a place of “good enough” we reach a place of complacency. Ideas evolve, new resources are developed, students change…there is always something to learn. Just like it’s the better parents who always wonder if they are actually being good parents, the best teachers are those who never think they are doing the best they can. They search out ways to grow (building a PLN, reading professional literature, reflecting on their own practice, etc.). We can never be too good at our jobs, we can never care too much for the students, and we can never know too much about education and teaching. Fight the temptation of “enough” and strive for more.