50 Shades of Grey: An Educational Conundrum

Kids? Politics? Both?

conundrum brain trauma
Traumatic brain injury = a conundrum wrapped in a mystery, buried in an enigma, and shrouded by secrecy


The best part about our profession of education is…kids! Most–if not all–of us teach on the most dedicated staff, with the greatest kids, affectionately supported by a passionate community, in a district that unconditionally puts kids first and is a 21st century educational leader. What, then, is it that differentiates us? Country to country, state to state, county to county, city to city, district to district, school to school, classroom to classroom, we’re different. Drastically different. Some may point to standardized metrics to “compare apples to apples” and suggest better and worse.

What distinguishes us from one another may be as simple as black and white. Or perhaps more accurately stated, the grey muddle in between that can look 50 shades of grey. Do our decisions, initiatives, programs, meetings, speeches, directives, suggestions, and questions become lost across 50 shades of grey? For example, often times we’re encouraged/convinced/directed to:

  • think out of the box–>within political structures which require us to stay in the same package
  • differentiate instruction–>to perform for a standardized test
  • celebrate and empower differences–>to be measured by a common assessment
  • be creative and innovative–>to assure mastery of common standards
  • be independent–>in an effort to get everyone on the same page
  • speak our minds–>in systems that strive for one voice
  • take risks–>in a society that historically values safe decisions and rewards predictability

This can cause a disconnect between words and actions. Our words are aligned, but our actions can vary amidst the 50 shades of grey. Our creativity and innovation can become diluted. Our growth can wane. Our vision can blur. Our leadership can waver. Our passion can diminish.

Perhaps all educators believe their era was the most challenging. If so, I will follow suit. I ask you: how do you go about aligning your words with your actions during this most challenging era of education? We all talk the talk. At the end of the day, how do you manage walking the walk so that you significantly move the needle such that student learning and school community needs are met and exceeded…in black and white? I would love for you to share your strategies, processes, successes, thoughts, and questions.

One Comment

  1. This is a *very* unfortunately titled article. Don’t reuse memes as titles until you know what they mean!

    September 1, 2014

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