Thursday, March 23, 2017

Innovation vs Conformity

Recently, I watched a video from entrepreneur, speaker, and author, Gary Vaynerchuk. The first time I saw Gary V. on a podcast, I described him to a friend as Joe Pesci on crack. He is passionate, witty, and over the top.  In the video, he talked about how school failed him and many others, because systems are in place to develop workers and not entrepreneurs. In other words, schools focused on conformity over innovation. He ends his interview, by saying that often times people who have been successful in a system of conformity aren't ready for the "punch in the face" that the real world often gives to entrepreneurs.

I admire Gary Vaynerchuk and I appreciate that he notes there are always exceptions and that he was talking in broad terms about school systems, but it got me thinking. One of the things that drew me so much to authors Dave Burgess and George Couros is that they focus on breaking the mold, risk taking, and innovation over conformity. Yes, we have a set curriculum to teach, but how we present the material and how students learn, process, and demonstrate knowledge and application is up to us. We have a choice as educators to be dynamic in our teaching and learning or not. Think about your favorite class as a student. What stands out to you? Probably not the curriculum, but an engaging activity or having choice in what you learned and how you presented it. I still remember an archaeological dig that one of my middle school teachers took us on. I'm confident that he covered material from several core subjects through that week long project. We dug up articles (that he probably planted for us), we cataloged them, we speculated on their use and presented how the people might have lived and put ourselves in their place. That's innovation and it was probably the most well behaved our class ever was!

As an educator, I don't usually like videos that talk about ways that schools are failing students. We do so many positive things for students and the world that often go unnoticed. However, I also don't want to turn a blind eye when someone points out ways that we can improve. When it comes to innovation vs conformity, I will always promote innovation. We still need to teach our students how to conform to the rules and work together collaboratively, but we can do so in an innovative environment. Conformity will help our students prepare for the jobs that already exist, but innovation will help them prepare for jobs that don't exist yet and perhaps will help them create those jobs! I know what kind of school I would like to learn in and work about you?

PEARLS OF WISDOM from Gary Vaynerchuk 

"I influence anyone who is able to get through the chaos of my first impression."

"I love people, and the hustle."
"The reason we love our parents is because they loved us first. Every single company should take this advice."


Jeff Veal

Amy Heavin


Monday, March 27: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 am
                                 Jon to Buchanan PTA 7:00 pm
Tuesday, March 28: Elementary Principals at Wayne RESA 7:30-9:30 am
                                All Administrative Meeting at Holmes 3:00-4:30 pm
Thursday, March 30: Staff Meeting (PBS led by Denise) / Jon to Cass for Staff Meeting
                                  Alena's Shower during lunch
Friday, March 31: 4th Grade to Johnson for school visit in morning
                              March is Reading Month Awards Assembly 2:30 pm
                              Roller Skating Night at Riverside Arena 6:00-8:00 pm

Monday, April 3 - Friday, April 7: SPRING BREAK!!

Monday, April 10: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Tuesday, April 11: Jon to Cass PTA 7:00 pm
Wednesday, April 12: Achievement Team (Nadon/Fuller) 8:20 am
Thursday, April 13: Elementary Principals to Riley 1:00-4:00 pm
                                 PTA Meeting in Library 6:30 pm (Nominations)
Friday, April 14: No School 

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