Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Don't Be A Zax

The Zax
by Dr. Suess

One day, making tracks
In the prairie of Prax,
Came a North-Going Zax
And a South-Going Zax.

And it happened that both of them came to a place
Where they bumped. There they stood.
Foot to foot. Face to face.

“Look here, now!” the North-Going Zax said, “I say!
You are blocking my path. You are right in my way.
I’m a North-Going Zax and I always go north.
Get out of my way, now, and let me go forth!”

“Who’s in whose way?” snapped the South-Going Zax.
“I always go south, making south-going tracks.
So you’re in MY way! And I ask you to move
And let me go south in my south-going groove.”

Then the North-Going Zax puffed his chest up with pride.
“I never,” he said, “take a step to one side.
And I’ll prove to you that I won’t change my ways
If I have to keep standing here fifty-nine days!”
“And I’ll prove to YOU,” yelled the South-Going Zax,
“That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax
For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule
That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.
Never budge! That’s my rule. Never budge in the least!
Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
I’ll stay here, not budging! I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!”

Of course the world didn’t stand still. The world grew.
In a couple of years, the new highway came through
And they built it right over those two stubborn Zax
And left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks.

I know far too many teachers who have their curriculum planned before they even meet their students for the new academic year.  They have the yellow handout for Monday and the green handout for Tuesday.  They give this quiz for this section and that Fall 2006.  Never changing from year to year semeser to semester, class to class and student to student. 

If we as educators remember that the learning process is about the students entrusted to our care, how can   the path of learning be determined without knowing the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the those students.  While the basic framework can be outlined, it is impossible to know what is the best way to make the learning real for those students. Students cannot be expected to value learning that that is not authentic and valuable to them. Therefore, we as educators cannot take on the process of educating students, the way the Zax approach moving through their world.

Embrace change, not for the sake of change, but for the chance to connect to the new students who will share your educational domain each new semester. Change should not only invigorate the students you teach but you as an educator as well.

Don' t be a Zax!!!   

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