Monday, January 20, 2014

Patience, Evaluation, Reflection

In my opinion, the silver screen has experienced a huge renaissance in the last few years. Trying to decide which film I enjoyed the most between Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, The Ides of March, Zero Dark 30, and the Hunger Games is an exercise in futility. Most of those movies, however, are not the type I can watch over and over. Moneyball, the story of a small market baseball team, whose general manager tries to win more by spending less and maximizing his existing talent, is. Moneyball really makes me think.

Recently, I discovered a scene at the end of the movie that provides great insight into our profession and gives us some guidance towards better teaching and leadership. 
When I first started teaching, I wanted to hit home runs everyday. I was blessed with confidence and new ideas from my cooperating teacher, and when I finally got my first job, I was ready to light the world on fire. At the end of that first year, I probably spent more of my time putting out the fires that I created. Even today, I think conscientious and ambitious school leaders want to create groundbreaking changes in our schools. We want to be the ones with the next pioneering idea that changes the game. If Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did it in their fields, maybe we could too.

But in education, the most innovative changes often are enacted with patience, consistent evaluation, and most importantly, reflection.  

Rounding first and heading for second might be something we have never done before. Experimenting with a new lesson can be frightening for a teacher just like presenting a new initiative  might be nerve-racking for an administrator. Even professional development can be intimidating. When I first started using Twitter, I told my wife that this new commitment, "could easily take an hour of my time every day to do it right." Talk about the fear of the unknown

The truth is- we don't have to hit home runs every day. 

Educators who are patient with their students and adapt to the changes in education are exhibiting an important skill in our profession. If we consistently evaluate the effectiveness of our lessons or our initiatives and back it with strong evidence, we can be confident that our ideas are making a difference. Finally, through reflection and conversation, we can humbly assess what needs to change and how we can change it. 

By doing so, we are going to hit plenty of home runs, and not even realize it. 


  1. Home Runs are overrated. Look at all the juicers in MLB during the 90's and 2000's. Consistency is the key both in reflection and in practice.
    Nice post.

  2. Stephen- Thanks for your kind words and I agree on all accounts!

  3. Great insight! A lot of movies echo truths about life and education.