Monday, June 10, 2013

The Future > The Present

In my job promoting and training teachers to use a computer-adaptive GED prep program, I encounter a lot of anxiety about the changes and uncertainty as the free market shakes up the high school equivalency (HSE) playing field. It reminds me of something that I'm going through with my family.  Basically, our 10 week old Matilda Clementine is often inconsolably upset.  Day in and day out our colicky baby makes me think I'm not going to survive this parenting thing with its incredible decibel levels, demanding schedule, and unsustainable workload.  She's got me wearing earplugs, looking for escape routes, and occasionally drowning my sorrows.

We're both a little upset here. Not pictured: earplugs, large glass of extra-strength beer.
We've been down this road before with our two boys, but it's easy to forget how we managed, or even the simple fact that we did get through it.  Eventually, the kids got more capable and started to gradually reveal their personalities. Similarly, adult education programs are survivors that weather stormy political climates, budgetary neglect, and occasional bouts of homelessness. The new HSE tests will just be more bumps in a road that isn't really changing direction, if you ask me.

With Change Comes Opportunity

I would never dismiss an educator's feelings about the turmoil in our career field. I'm feeling it too, at work and at home. But, I think we'll get through the turbulence and will have smoother sailing before long... maybe even reason to smile.  Take what you do control in this equation and get creative.

A day later and a world of difference: Morning walk to the pier.
The thing I relish the most about my boys getting older is the chance to introduce them to the kinds of adventures I enjoyed as a kid (exploring the woods, video games), or better yet, following their fancies to places I'd missed out on myself (roller skating, running train sets, or long walks on the beach at sunrise).  Are there any chances to explore new directions with the big GED transition?  Aligning to the Common Core and taking on 'more rigor' doesn't have to mean that the test is simply harder, or that the instruction is suddenly insurmountable.  What's important is an inspired response. 

How can you, in a manner of speaking, take the kids to the creek to turn over rocks or walk to the pier with your feet in the water? I'm thinking we need to find ways to be more thorough, comprehensive.  Go deeper into subjects and start tackling all of this from an earlier literacy level. Address a wider array of learning styles with more kinds of media than ever before.  Whatever your approach, if making the best of the present is hard to fathom, look to the future.

The Sun Will Come Up... Tomorrow. 

Should I post the video for the Annie song, or would that just annoy you all? The picture of my tough times above was taken at sunset, and the next one the following morning.  What a difference a day makes.  On this blog, I'll try to revisit and expound on these recommendations, and include more pictures of Matilda, Jasper and Emerson as we steadily make our way into a brighter future. 



  1. Just a wonderful and insightful post. thanks!

    1. Thanks, Mary. I've promised people pictures of my babies, so I'm trying to do double duty on this blog and use them as an analogy. I hope it translates.

  2. While trying to figure out how well (or not well) this analogy works, it occurred to me that adult ed programs prescribe 'transitioning' to their clients. So, negotiating change and rising to meet a higher standard should be old hat. I think the tension lies in the fact that so many of our clients don't make that transition to college and careers. They view their GED as 'good enough' rather than a stepping stone. So, more work to get to that level isn't going to be very popular.

    How does that analogy strike you?


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