I have friends who are vegetarians. Not that there is anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld might say.
Being raised on a farm, meat - quite a lot of meat - has been a mainstay of my diet all my life. My dad liked to say that if God hadn't have wanted for people to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat. My brother says PETA stands for People Eating Tasty Animals.
So now that about half my readership is thoroughly aggravated with my flippancy about dietary choices, I will reveal that I have become a 2/3rd vegetarian. I try to limit my meat intake to only one meal a day. This is not attempt to save the planet or advance any political cause. It's not really about eating healthier (still love my cheese and eggs and ice cream). It's only about trying to lose a little weight. Simple as that.
So I don't need to be a dietary purist. I can limit, not eliminate, foods. It doesn't really feel like a sacrifice especially when good restaurants serve vegetable platters like this one from the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe where I ate with my buddy Cary last week:
So does this have anything to do with education? I think so.
So often we get into an all-or-nothing, either-or, no-exceptions mindset. (No meat, no exceptions.) The tech department will only support PCs (or Macs). Everyone has to use Microsoft Office. One reading method is right for every teacher and every student. All students must take advanced math classes. Every child should learn to code.
Where is the balance?
An article I wrote that appeared in Teacher-Librarian magazine in June 2008 - "Change from the Radical Center of Educaiton." - is still one of my personal favorites. In it, I advocate for a balanced approach to change in schools; attitudes which would result in less conflict and more progress. In summary:
As a radical centrist in education, I subscribe to the following principles:
- Adopt an “and” not “or” mindset.
- Look for truth and value in all beliefs and practices.
- Respect the perspective of the individual.
- Recognize one size does not fit all (kids or teachers).
- Attend to attitudes.
- Understand that the elephant can only be eaten one bite at a time.
- Make sure everyone is moving forward, not just the early adopters.
- Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
- Believe measurement is good, but that not everything can be measured.
- Know and keep your core values.
A 2/3rd educational reformer? Apostasy to many. But change might actually happen in the long run.
I've lost 15 pounds on my semi-vegetarian diet.