I recently learned that the Emu and the Kangaroo are both important symbols to Australia because of their defining characteristics. The emu has an interesting foot that consists of only three toes. All of which face forward and help the animal to have tremendous balance.  The same characteristic is exhibited in the kangaroo. The kangaroo can balance itself by using its tail. However, both animals have a great deal of difficulty going backwards. They will immediately fall when they attempt to do so.

It reminded me how we feel in education at times. We want to go backwards, retracting what we have said or done, rather than finding ways to continue moving forward.  How many times have we thrown the baby out with the bath water when we encounter a societal change, politcal philosophy, economic change, etc. Rather than being creative with what we are already doing. Please don’t try and show another prepackaged program to a veteran teacher. “Been there, done that”, will ultimately be their response. If we know what good teaching looks like then our focus should remain there at all times. Building upon what we know and not expecting teachers to make this huge leap from one side of the spectrum to the other every 5-10 years.
Lately, the push or emphasis is on technological advancements, of which I am a huge fan. However, we seem to get so caught up in the tools or teaching the technology, that we have lost an entire group of educators in the process. Teachers with varying levels of tech competencies are now being valued on their ability lead a class in technology based practices. Why can’t the focus be on good teaching and learning. As Chris Lehman says, “Technology must be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible.
I am proposing that we remain like the emu and the kangaroo in education. Let’s continue moving forward with what we know and remain balanced in our approach to teaching. It’s all about the learning that takes place in the classroom. It’s about building upon student interests, making school relevant and keeping schools safe for children to learn. Technology should definitely be an intricate part of that equation.  What we must consider, is that not everyone can dive in head first and come up swimming the first time. Sometimes we need to use kickboards (simple tools/ideas) and teach these individuals to use them for their own learning.  We must help one another keep our heads above water in this ever changing system.   Are you handing out kickboards to someone you know is struggling?  Sometimes they are afraid to get in the water and try to swim, right? Never give up hope…  When balanced, kangaroos have a very powerful kick to unleash! We need learning ~to be continued…