Thursday, March 15, 2012

The 3 Lifesavers in Education Today

As a kid, I loved eating Lifesavers. The variety of different flavors and colors still melt in my mouth today. When I think of Lifesavers, I feel good, but that feeling quickly dissipates just like the candy. It eventually disappears, and I go about my normal routine.

The same idea applies to how we view education. Do we view it in the same way as the movies do? (See Bill Ferriter's post, Movie Teachers send the Wrong Message) Do we see it as a noble contribution to humanity, or do we go further and  view it as the ultimate opportunity to save lives?  I would say most of us see ourselves as lifesavers and gamechangers, but when it comes down to it, just how much life-changing do we really do?

Lifesaver Challenge...
There are 3 kinds of lifesavers. Which one are you?

Lifesavers Candy
This kind of lifesaver is not really a lifesaver at all. It's a feel-good lifesaver. When they are reminded about their moral responsibility in saving the lives of all students, they pop that thought into their head like a real lifesaver candy and say to themselves "oh yeah, I'm supposed to be doing that."  They instantly feel good about themselves, but as soon as another thought enters their head, they have forgotten all about saving kids.  That's because their commitment to being a lifesaver lasts about as long as a piece of candy in their mouth. 

Lifesaving Buoy
These lifesavers know it is important to save the lives of the kids that they are working with.  They know to be on the lookout for students who are struggling and throw them a life preserver, but beyond saving the struggling swimmer, this type of lifesaver doesn't have much more to offer. Their responsibility is ethical. They know they must save kids and they make an effort, but they also believe that it is someone else's responsibility to save the "really low" students. The idea of "whatever it takes" starts with rhetoric and stops with deep commitment. 

Lifesaving Professionals
This type of lifesaver is not limited by the title of their position. There moral responsibility takes them where "whatever it takes" leads them. Going beyond the scope of their job, these lifesavers do great and amazing things to save kids. Their creativity and innovation designs prescriptive supports to ensure that no student slips through the cracks on their watch. Furthermore, these lifesavers inspire students and equip them with the tools to save themselves.

Which Lifesaver are You?

So which lifesaver best identifies with you?  Is your commitment to saving kids as weak as a piece of candy or as strong as a surgeon.   Are you somewhere in between?  No matter where you are, you were built to save kids and the only thing that limits us all is our self-confidence in our own abilities and the realization that everything we do has the potential to save a life.