Pencils can’t fix this

In response to my recent slide on the students of tomorrow and the classrooms of yesterday, regular Radical reader Mike H wrote:

So I showed this slide to the department chairs I work with from middle school to high school and 15 new teachers of the county. We have a 1:1 so I talked about the need to use the laptops our students to bring to school, as well as the need to make our students think more critically. But, alas, overwhelmingly, the concern was the end of course exams.

Honestly, every time I hear teachers talk about the importance of preparing kids for their end-of-course exams, I wonder where we’ve gone wrong as a nation.   There are greater challenges that many our students will walk out of schools knowing nothing about.

So I made another slide.  It shows an abandoned baby struggling to survive in the slums of Lucknow, India, and it broke my heart.  I almost couldn’t bear to look at it.

But I also couldn’t handle the implications of a world where children struggle to survive in one country while others sit oblivious, studying for final exams in another.  The pain in this picture encouraged me to rethink the kinds of content that our kids need to wrestle with in order to become responsible global citizens.

Many thanks to Andrew McLagan, the photographer who shot this original image, for reminding me that I have a responsibility to prepare my students for something more.