Message from the Dean
Fifty years ago, futurist Alvin Toffler (1970) suggested that one of the most important skills in the 21st C would be our capacity to be infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before:
We must search out totally new ways to anchor ourselves, for all the old roots, religion, nation, community, family or profession – are now shaking under the hurricane impact of the accelerative thrust. It is no longer resources that limit decisions, it is the decision that makes the resources. (Future Shock, p. 35)
Arguably, that time is upon us. Calls for change in education have long competed with calls to go “back to basics”. The term ‘future shock’ was Toffler’s attempt to capture the disorientation and stress induced when there is too much change at once. Coping requires us to “adopt a new stance about the future, a new sensitive awareness of the role it plays in the present” (p. 4).
So, let’s reorient our anxiety, fear and uncertainty. Let’s make a conscious decision to focus on the opportunities this historical moment offers:
- The pandemic has made starkly visible the injustices in some of society’s existing policies and practices, and has ignited a collective call for change. We will be part of making that change!
- The implications of disregarding facts are playing out in the world. We will teach today’s youth why facts matter!
- Education has grown increasingly political. We will develop and use teacher professional agency in service of advocating for our students, and asserting our professional knowledge.
Change of this magnitude is deeply entwined in our need to manage our own stress and mental health. Be sure to monitor your own wellness, and reach out for help. Western has a suite of services and resources to support you.
Keep a personal journal of this time, as it too shall pass. And when it does, you can look back upon it and marvel at what you were able to accomplish. We will get through this together.