School Circuitry: What is Your Function?

While brushing up a bit on my knowledge of electronic circuitry thanks to the Electric Circuits app on my iPod Touch, I considered the analogy of electric circuitry to roles played in a school. I thought about this as a point of reflection both as an administrator and for educators who are encountering a number of changes that could potentially adversely impact the electricity of our schools. Consider which, if any, of these roles you play in your school. For the illustration, I consider a simple circuit with the potential to power multiple lights.

1. Power Source: Are you one of those in your building to whom others turn to find answers and inspiration? When others are feeling overwhelmed, are you still providing a reason for others to persevere?

2. Switch: Do you have the ability and difficult responsibility at times of either maintaining the electrical flow or bringing it to a complete stop? It is often a switch who dictates whether or not the power sources are effectively translating power to other members of the school.

3. Wire: Are you making the connections that allow the power sources to be accessed by others in such a way that they illuminate student learning? Are you bringing the resources to others that allow them to shine?

4. Resistor: Are you reducing the energy flow due to your reluctance to adapt or because of your misgivings about educational reform without translating the energy positively? I think it is important to have some resistors who discern the danger of pushing new initiatives too quickly, but a resistor who drains all of the energy from the circuit can be quite detrimental to a school.

5. Light: Are you the person who uses the power given to you to truly shine? When others look at your contributions to the school, is it clear that you are “making a difference” and putting the school’s electricity to good use? How brightly is your light shining with students?

I think it is important to play all roles in the circuitry of the school when they are necessary to the school’s electricity, especially in a climate of changing expectations and a number of potential circuit interrupters. If one considers the importance of each of the parts of the circuit, it is clear that the lights only shine if all parts are used to complete the circuit. Furthermore, the strength of the light is contingent upon the voltage of the power source and the limited number of resistors without switches disconnecting power.

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