Do you sometimes feel that your whole life revolves around school, education, our students, the lesson you are teaching next, the next round of reports, marking? It is often difficult to gain some perspective and remember that there is a world outside school. We also sometimes get very wound up about the fact that “we have no time” to do anything but meet the daily demands of our work, like improve our practice, read about what other teachers are doing in other schools or go to conferences. I was reminded this weekend of an analogy made at a conference a couple of years ago about our reluctance sometimes to keep up with new approaches to teaching and learning. Imagine you went to the dentist, you walk into the surgery, there is an old uncomfortable leather chair that has two settings; upright and flat. Instead of bright shiny, clean instruments the dentist has the sort of equipment that you remember from your childhood. There is no injected anaesthetic or even any mouthwash, there are spitoons on the bench …. I don’t need to go on. Would you be horrified that this dentist had apparently not moved with the times, was not taking advantage of the benefits that technology and advances in his field could offer both him and his patients? Wouldn’t you EXPECT a dentist or a doctor or any other professional with whom you have interaction to be abreast of modern methods, technology, thinking, science? I would.
I found this article, “Virtualy Reality display lets fire crews see in a blaze” in the New Scientist and marvelled at how this technology could help save lives and these sorts of advances are happening and being used in creative, humanitarian ways all over the world and in all sorts of professional spheres. Now I know that teachers are not in the business of saving lives …… but we are in the business of changing lives.