Such was the case yesterday when Donalyn Miller and I were sharing some thoughts back and forth in email interspersed with Voxer messages. This "multi-modal" approach allows us both to talk about more than one topic at a time (it should not surprise you that either one of us does this, right?).
One thought that occurred during this exchange was about the phrase "college and career ready." It seems to me that there is almost an implication that BAM! once we have done our job, kids are ready, no more preparation, education, etc. needed. And that is, of course, not the case.
What mechanic worth his salt graduates from his tech training without ever having to learn about the new things that can go horribly wrong in our "smart" cars? What doctor does not read journals to learn about new approaches to treatment? What CPA does not know about the latest tax code changes?
And yet, I know some educators who do not read professional journals, do not belong to professional organizations, do not keep up with current research or even know the research behind best practices. There are librarians who do not read, teachers who do not write. It is all coming back again and again to the idea of modeling. How can I ask my own students to do what I either cannot or will not do?
Career ready? I am not sure how "ready" I felt in those first years of teaching. I understood that I needed to know more. I talked to colleagues, read widely, attended conferences. I still do.
College ready? I took loads of courses in high school to "prepare" me, but I still managed to make miserable grades my freshman year. Why? Sr. Maria Thekla was not there reminding me to do my homework or there would be consequences. My mother was not making me get up and head to class (which was a LONG bus ride from my home). No one told me that the Biology class I was taking was to cull pre-med students from the program. Could I dissect a poem? You bet. Was that something that made me college ready? Nope.
There is so much more thinking I need to do here. But the genesis of any thinking on this topic goes back to my PLN, my community. How fortunate I am to have folks who stimulate my thinking. I can only hope I do the same for others.