Saturday, September 6, 2008

Flanking the Centurions

I can't remember my first lessons about the Roman centurions. I don't recall the grade or the teacher. I have no idea why I carry a clear imprint of these ancient that closely resembles this award-winning image from Wikimedia Commons. Admittedly, I am not a history scholar. In fact, my current understandings about centurions are quite likely shaped by my schooling, old movies and my husband, the history buff. As I began thinking about a name for my blog voice, however, a synapse of stilled dendrites and axons rattled my dormant "centurion schema." After a bit of cursory fact-checking, my uncontested choice for a blogspot title was "The 21st Century Centurion." You see, on some level, I know we need a militia of highly skilled educators to lead the learning in the 21st century. I am compelled by the urgent need to energize, empower and mobilize a vast corps of courageous, innovative educators who will redefine teaching and learning for the 21st Century. Having worked in technology professional development for years, I'm able to recognize that the "season" for transformation is upon us now--in the present--today. All things past have come together - to NOW. A symphony of knowledge, tools, resources, conditions, policies, societal needs, educational crises, and the pulse of the human condition is at full crescendo. After 25 years of change vibrations, beginning with a Nation at Risk in 1983, the call for a learning revolution resonates at ear-splitting intensity. The shrill cry for change will certainly shatter the fragile remains of traditional, monolithic schools. Our students hang in the balance trusting society to rally and rebuild them. The good news is an army of 21st century "education centurions" is forming.

Having said all of that, I confess that this centurion paused before charging into the edublogosphere. It is truthful to say that she looked over the blog horizon, saw the army of naysayers, and considered a quick retreat. It is intimidating to make one's self vulnerable to arrows of criticism from the bows of colleagues. Yet, over the years, I have learned to take blows from traditionalists without negative emotion. Uncharacteristically, however, I have silently followed and learned and grown from the courageous lead of edubloggers who overcame fears and wounds to lead the net-charge for school reform. I've long been inspired by the web queen, Kathy Schrock and the flat world princess Vicki Davis. I've been energized by the passion of Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, the sheer volume of Wes Fryer's outstanding contributions, the humor and wisdom of Christa Allen, the selfless and brilliant insights of Terry Freedman, the faithfulness of Lisa Durff, the erudite rants of Gary Stager and the tireless and amazing efforts of gifted leaders including Dean Shareski, Lucy Gray, Lisa Thurrman, Scott Floyd and Bud Hunt. There are so many others. I owe so much to so many.

How can one sit on the sideline once the mission is clear? How can one "be still" when walls are crumbling and students must be served? How does an educator say "no" when colleagues are assembling to reform our profession? Here's the answer to all three questions. We will not be still. The educators will rally. They'll enlist. They'll disrupt, conquer and rebuild our schools for the 21st century. I am certain of this. Toward this end, I join the ranks of web centurions that marched before me and paved my way in the blogosphere. Thank you for your leadership.