My niece posted a saying on FaceBook that I’ve been thinking about:

Live your life. Take chances. Don’t wait. Because right now you are the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be…ever again.
The viewpoint of a twenty year old student reminds me of the energy and, could it be called “perkiness”?, of starting new things with new people. Most of us have a context to live in. We know what we can do and what we can’t do. We have systems built through tradition, logic or both. We know the rules and we typically work within them. We have adapted to the systems we entered as young adults and, in many ways, we make sure they continue as they were upon our arrival.
Young people aren’t so concerned with all that “stuff”. They are learning in colleges and universities about things they care about; they engage with their peers and their eyes are opening  to new ideas and new patterns of interaction. They’re excited about the opportunities of the world they are entering and they are determined to see if there is a better way.They don’t accept systems at face value: they challenge the status quo and push at tradition. Their attitudes can be scary for those who have been successful in “our” systems. Their fresh viewpoint, without the brakes that we automatically apply, is both energizing and intimidating!
On the Sunshine Coast our school district has begun to define a new model of professional inquiry for all teachers and principals. At our recent introductory session we discussed what this initiative (a change in some of what we do) will look like over the next three years. We discussed why inquiry is effective and what teachers and principals are truly interested in learning to support their professional growth. Many told me of the energy they feel as they look forward to sharing new insights with their colleagues. They talked about ideas that are new to them. They met colleagues they have not interacted with before and began discussions that could go on for years as they explore their professional passions. Inquiry is not new to many of them, we have amazing expertise on the Coast. Many want to get going with the excitement of learning with their colleagues as soon as they can and some have already have begun!
Sounds like twenty-year old energy to me!
At a recent event, the B.C. Ministry of Education program department leaders discussed their openness to innovation. They referenced their flexibility for school districts to discuss school year calendar change in their communities and to develop innovative and enhanced opportunities for students. They asked if there are structures or processes that are in place right now that are interfering with the ability of school districts to make change that will support teaching and learning. They want to support creative work that will enhance student learning.
The Ministry is excited by new ideas, new initiatives and people working together on a professional level. Their contagious enthusiasm is energizing our province to embrace innovation and to research best practices. Their flexibility will support creative teaching options and more open-ended opportunities for students.
Sounds like twenty-year old energy to me!
I hear principals talking about options and possibilities in their schools. I hear the School District No. 46 (Sunshine Coast) trustees I work with talking about pathways for students and asking questions about how we support their teachers and support staff to meet student needs. I hear members of the British Columbia School Superintendents’ Association (BCSSA) talking about the exciting learning opportunities that are taking place in their districts.
These, too, sound like twenty-year old energy to me!
Motivation and support for exciting innovative work in education is here right now. Teachers, principals, superintendents and the Ministry of Education want all of our students to have the very best of opportunities in our public school system. They always have. We have, right now, this commonality, this focus, and this mutual support for excellence in our province.
Live your life. Take chances. Don’t wait! Because right now you are the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be…ever again.
That’s what twenty-year old energy sounds like!
That’s what education in British Columbia feels like!
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