I have noticed…with some monumental amounts of distress mixed with humor…that in education …what was old becomes new again and then old and then really super brand new. When this “thing” becomes super brand new, it is bright and shiny and expensive. Thank you, thank you to all the taxpayers including myself! We are so often paying big time for old ideas re-packaged in glittered ribbon.
My awareness of this phenomenon occurred when I changed school districts a little more than several years ago. I was very enthralled with being in a different district…even larger than my last large district. Sure, I was very sad to leave my old school and my comfortable surroundings and friends. However, I had a new position and I might just use that recently framed master’s degree that caused me to lose so much sleep. I entered my new school building and walked into my first all-day staff development of the year.
It is sort of fun to learn new information and meet new people even at a very long staff development. If they have good snacks, it is even more fun. I met lots of new people that day and still count many as friends. The new information was old information. Really old information. Truly. We spent the day talking about and completing and talking about again the THINKING MAP. Actually, I like to use thinking maps to present ideas. Children in every grade can derive a positive benefit from a thinking map. The problem was that I had been using these maps for at least ten years and so had all the people at my table. They acted very nice about this old information that became brand new. I did the right thing and acted nice too.
Goodness, it is difficult to act nice when you find out that four staff members from one school had spent several fun-filled days in another city…learning about THINKING MAPS! It is not inexpensive to send four people to a wonderful city to learn about something that they surely already knew. I never found out how many schools sent people to the conference. I just didn’t want to know. I felt like I was in a time warp. This is why I went to graduate school? Oh dear! Something was just wrong about the picture. I still use thinking maps. In fact, I would use one right now if I didn’t have lesson plans to complete.
These maps came to my mind today because of the home center in my classroom. I love home centers. They promote organization, friendly talk, cooperation, and fun. What could be wrong with that? For several years, I had been told that home centers were out. Way out. Do not have a home center! Throw away that wooden refrigerator and matching stove! And then…like magic…one recent year, I received at least five large boxes filled with home center furniture! What a thrill! Sort of like American Idol deciding to come back for one more “the very last season”! I have gone all out for that home center. Real menus from real restaurants! A special location by a big window! And now…four chef hats and four aprons! The dollar store came through again! What is old is new again! I don’t know how much those five boxes of home center furniture cost. I am just not asking.