When Dorothy and her friends finally reach the hall of the Great and Powerful Oz, Toto uncovers the truth behind the curtain, as there stands a flustered man trying his best to give the illusion that Oz is in control and capable of solving their individual problems ~ a trip home, a heart, a brain and courage. As the well-known story draws to a conclusion, the reader/audience joins Dorothy in her discovery that she had the answer all along and that with each obstacle that she encountered in her journey, she not only became more determined for herself, but she started to feel responsible for the dreams of the Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion.
Sometimes I wonder if we think of our learning organization as the Great and Powerful Oz. Someone/something with the power to show us the answers, lead the way home, provide us with the courage to take the next step and the brainpower to make the right decisions. We do our best to follow the instructions with the hopes of the answers magically appearing. But the reality is that student learning is complex and the components that lead to improved student learning can not be simplified into a “one size fits all” recipe. There is no Great and Powerful Oz with all of the answers, but just like Dorothy and her friends, the answers are within us. As educators, we know what we need to do ~ but the challenge is having the heart and courage to do it. Ensuring that students are learning is hard work. It’s much harder than just imparting knowledge. We need to work our way through various obstacles and gain a deeper empathy for others who are also on this learning journey with us.
Clicking our heels three times, may not get us to where we want to be ~ but believing in ourselves as educators, knowing that what we do (when it’s done intentionally and based in sound pedagogy) will have a positive impact on a student and acknowledging the challenges of others as they make their way on their own journey will get us much closer to the where we need to be.