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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What if?

After a day in which the lessons I planned didn't quite go as planned and several discussions with a colleague while out walking,  I went to a PBL training and have been doing nothing but thinking about "what if?"

What if we didn't beat out the natural desire to figure things out on their own our students are born with?

What if we could re-ignite the inner learner all teachers had at one point?

What if we restructured our day around inquiry based learning and not test prep?

What if we allowed MOOC courses for students interested in taking classes outside the expertise of the brick and mortar staff, that would count for graduation credit?

What if we had an EdCamp style where if a student doesn't feel they are learning, they could get up and go somewhere they could learn more?

What if our students were so used to being given choice and voice in their learning that if we didn't include that in our lesson, they would speak up?

What if we were creating environments for our students that they learned to trust their gut as to whether it was "right" or "good enough" instead of relying on us to determine that?

What if our students directed their own learning and relished the opportunity to do so?

What if we used PBL to help solve  more problems in our local neighborhoods instead of relying on fictitious scenarios that we made up solely for the lesson?

What if everything our students created was shared publicly so authentic eyes were on it and not just ours?

What if we were able to re-engage the disaffected parents in our district?

What if our students developed a way for us to meet the needs of our hungry community members in a way that is sustainable?

What if we had programs that allowed students interested in any topic to gain an advanced or two year degree by the time they graduated if they are working at an accelerated rate?

What if we had internships for any student who wanted to pursue one?

What if we connected with experts in the field to help us in the classroom on a regular basis?

What if we didn't have study halls and instead had time for passion projects or genius hour?

What if we weren't cutting art and music time and money to focus more on "what's on the test'?

What if all teachers sought out PD on their own?

What if teachers understood that using tech to simply give an eWorksheet were missing out on the true power that tech could (if harnessed correctly) provide?

What if every student came to school having had a good night's sleep and food in their stomach?

What if every student felt they could make a difference in our local community as well as the global community?

What if students realized that the path they are on can be changed if they want it to and they are not predestined to that path?

What if we offered alternative break plans like going to South Carolina to help rebuild after their devastating flood?

What if we made our schools more energy efficient through the efforts/ideas of our students.

What if our schools became energy producers instead of consumers because our students devised a way for that to happen?

These are just some of the things I've been thinking about in the last day.  I have work to do to help make these a reality.

What are your what ifs?


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much!! That means so much coming from you! You really inspired us all at NJPAECET2! Thank you for inspiring generations of us to do the right thing by our students!

  2. WHAT if there was no Rachel? I shudder to imagine...

    1. What if we had not connected? My life would be radically different! I am a better person because of our connection!

  3. So many "What ifs" we need to consider! It makes me bonkers to keep thinking these, but it also makes me a better teacher when I can implement one or two in the interim! Thank you for sharing these great reflective questions!

    1. I know that is is frustrating to think about all the what ifs, but it really helps me stretch myself all the time!

  4. What if teachers stood up and refused to follow the policies created by people with no teaching experience?

    What if we started the conversation about school reform without assuming we need physical schools?

    What if we gave students the ability to pick their classes?

    1. Completely in agreement. I am hoping that we are able to start these conversations very soon and that they are authentic and meaningful instead of a meeting to discuss and then disband.