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Over the last year I have been working on a book idea. I love reading and writing and finally put those interests to good use.


While below is a "sneak peek" of the project, I'll be passing along the full chapter this weekend to my email subscribers.


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(From Page 11)


I looked up the term Old School by using the most appropriate website I could find: Urban Dictionary. While I would not recommend frequenting this website at work, this particular search proved to be worthwhile.

The definition reads as follows:

old school (noun): Anything that is from an earlier era and looked upon with high regard or respect.

Anyone who has worked in schools could tell you we hold old traditions in very high regard.

As you begin to ponder what the Old School mentality looks like in your setting, consider how many of these statements have you heard in the last year:

“This worked just fine when we were in school.”

“This is how things have always been.”

“When I was in school, we never…”

“This is how I was taught and I turned out alright.”

“We never did that when (name of former leader) was here.”


Do educators in your district love to talk about the "good old days" in education?


Before I go further let me be clear: I’m not just talking about teachers. Educational leaders fall into the trap as well. Not only are they guilty of Old School thinking, educational leaders may be the main perpetrators.

Take for instance growth mindset. Growth mindset has been one of the biggest buzzwords in education for the past five years. Superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, instructional coaches... all educational leaders love to throw out growth mindset when giving motivational speeches or talking to the local newspaper.

However, get educational leaders behind closed doors and it’s funny how quickly the “you can do anything” public persona gives way to a “this will never work” mindset. For example, here are some common excuses heard in leadership meetings:

“There just isn’t enough money.”

“There just aren’t enough qualified teachers.”

“There just isn’t enough time.”

“There just isn’t enough parent support.”

“There just aren’t enough (bus drivers, paras, cooks, custodians, subs, etc.)”

Whether its teachers reminiscing about the glory days or educational leaders complaining about factors outside their control, the Old School mentality is pervasive in education.

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Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Jared Smith LLC.  Specializing in Leadership, Education, and Personal Growth.