My goodness, it seems like just yesterday when I was sitting with veteran teachers during lunch and listening to their conversations. These teachers loved working with kids. They respected their students and took their students' learning very seriously. I was a newbie to the profession. I remember listening to their conversations around district and state initiatives. They often spoke about the cyclical nature of education. They used a train metaphor. They often joked that if you missed the whole language train, don't worry, it'll be coming around again and you can hop on then.
I'm definitely not a full blown skeptic yet but I have to say that when I hear ed. leaders using a lot of buzz words I tend to indulge in a mental eye roll. That is not to say that I don't whole-heartedly support some of the practices that stand behind the buzz-words. For example, "Growth Mindset" is all the rage in education. If you go to Pinterest you will lose your mind when you see all the teacher created resources, mostly super-cute, to support growth mindset teaching in the classroom. I certainly do think that it is important to have a growth mindset when you're a learner. But is this really something new? Is it actually something that can be taught or cultivated? Can you achieve a growth mindset in all students with an adorable bulletin board or by reading clever picture books about smart characters who overcame obstacles because they had a growth mindset? I'm not saying that you can't but I'm wondering if we aren't paying a disproportionate amount of attention to something that the best teachers have always done well, with little to do. I'm pretty sure that even Carol Dweck would acknowledge that the best teachers have been cultivating a growth mindset in their classrooms FOREVER.
So what is this educator to do? I think it is important to stay up to date on the latest educational research. I also think it is important to have a solid, yet dynamic, educational philosophy. I'm going to keep challenging my thinking and making adjustments to my practice based on my learning. At the same time, I'm going to try not to become easily swept away by any of these buzz-word initiatives such that I'm losing sight of what is important for students. And, if I'm woefully seduced, hopefully, I'll recalibrate long before I start shelling out dollars for pretty stuff on TpT!