My daughter wrote a blog post about her observations and experiences while serving as the Social Media Director for SDCUE conference. In her post, she reflected on the lack of “teachers eager to keep learning and the ones who wanted to keep up with the new technologies” when she was in school just a couple years ago. She questioned why teachers are “stuck in their ways” and why there aren’t more teachers like the ones at SDCUE who want to keep on learning.
Maybe it’s because those “stuck” (her word, not mine) teachers need to be more dog. You see, dogs are amazed by EVERYthing. A snack is amazing. The UPS driver is amazing. Even a chewed up ball that smells like mud and lost its shape is amazing. They live for the moment, and they aren’t afraid to fail.
So how can we build the confidence and excitement of our teachers that have not yet channeled their inner dog? What chew toy, adventure, or treat will make them as excited as a dog? Do teachers need more time to connect with teachers that are already being more dog? Do they need more professional development on how to be a dog? Are teachers being asked to be more dog while living in a cat house? How do we fix this?
Culture. We talk about it in terms of the behaviors of a group, such as school culture. But when you look at its Latin root, it means growing, or cultivation. We grow a culture based on our behaviors and beliefs. In education, bogged down by bureaucracy and budget shortfalls and high stakes testing and (whatever else you want to insert here) we have cultivated a culture of … cats. Of people who are tired of chasing the laser light around the room. It’s up to all of us to change that culture. To create more opportunities to be dog. After all, if we aren’t feeling awesome about what we’re doing, how is a student to ever feel awesome learning with us?
If we could all just encourage each other to find moments of dog, we’ll work towards creating the experiences Alex kept searching and hoping for when she was in school. We can all chase the ball. Chew the toy. Grab the stick. We can all be more dog.
Read more about the Be More Dog campaign (2013) and all the ways they inspired people to drop their cat-like ways and embrace the dog inside.