September brings a lull for staff developers like myself itching to begin working in classrooms but needing to wait patiently as teachers build rapport with students and lay the groundwork for well-established routines and procedures. This holding pattern inevitably gives me time to reflect on my own practices and set goals for the work that I will accomplish during this school year. As I think about what has been and what is yet to be, I surf the web for information: articles, blogs, videos—anything that I can use as a sounding board for my thoughts and ideas. Every now and then, I find a gem. And recently, I found one that I HAVE to share with you.
This is a video about opening a banana. I know what you’re thinking. If I’m amused by a man peeling a banana, I have WAY too much time on my hands, right? Here’s my response: watch the video, then we’ll talk.
After I watched this, I couldn’t help but think that this video is the perfect metaphor for professional growth and development. Year after year after year, we do what we think is best. It works, so we don’t bother to think about how to do it better or differently. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Isn’t that the old adage?
Since watching this video, I have eaten a lot of bananas. Sometimes, I remember to pinch the bottom and peel with ease. But, sometimes, because I’m in a hurry or because I’m just not thinking a whole lot about how to peel my banana, I revert to my old ways. I chuckle and think to myself, so that’s why some teachers insist on teaching whole class novels or give seven ELA practice tests before testing day: Change is hard.
Colin Powell said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant, or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms.” When it comes to teaching, the call to action is imminent. Education is under the gun and we can no longer afford to be complacent, arrogant, or scared. The time to change is now and if we don’t start thinking about how to peel the banana differently, we may never arrive at the level of innovation our schools need to improve.