It’s one of those analogies that has stuck. It says a lot for us — and about us. We’re immigrants to this new digital world. Our students are native-born. We speak with an accent. I’ve heard these phrases for years now, and have used it myself.
I’m an immigrant and proud of it. I owe my dress, mannerisms, entertainment choices, political leanings, and the way I wear my hair to a time before the digital had spoken. I suspect that I saw this most dramatically at MacWorld, where the hair, speech (I could never talk that fast), mannerisms, and clothing all set me apart. Sure I dress in dark colors, but it’s because I would reflect too much light otherwise.
But I believe that it is time that we stop hiding behind our immigrant status, and start acting like natives. We need to stop making excuses and start leading. We are teachers, after all. It’s our job to lead, not follow. Sure, we’ll never be able to keep up with our kids in lots of ways. They have the luxury of time and their brain cells are fresher. But it is our job to look into the future and then plan and lead the way for our children.
You may say, “but who’s going to teach me to do that?” That’s an immigrant question. Natives teach themselves. They work with each other to grow their knowledge and skills. We’ve got to figure this out!