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Remembering That All Voices Matter

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Teaching and Learning
May 11, 2016

Who would have ever thought that my father-in-law, who turns 88 tomorrow, would be googling his ailments on the Internet! I announce this with pride because his “new” wife (whom he married at the tender age of 80) mentioned a few years ago that “he may be old, but he is teachable.” 

This simple statement has stayed with me because it reinforces the fact that there is a place for every hair color (natural to dyed to gray) in every educational conversation. Many times, there is a tendency to discount the wisdom of the grey-haired folks because the thinking is they have “aged-out” and there should be “new ideas and fresh blood."  Then there is the flip side asking, "why should I listen to new ideas and fresh concepts when what I have been doing for the past 10 to 15 to 25 years has been working." But has it??

When educators “come to the table” to strategize about changing budgets, technology and its role, reading scores and how to raise them, I just hope EVERYONE comes with an open heart and listening ears. It is so fun to be energized by brainstorming and new perspectives. Many times those perspectives get drowned because we are so busy ensuring our stances are heard, and we fail to listen to the wisdom of experience or the fresh out-of-the box thinking.   

My prayer has always been to “keep my heart open to opportunities and my mouth shut to judgment.”  The latter is very hard, but I do try.

Here’s to trying and allowing everyone to have a voice.

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