My wife is going school shopping for my sons tomorrow, but before deciding to do this she went through the boys' backpacks and folders to determine what school supplies were salvageable and didn't need to be repurchased. Turns out there's not a whole lot left on the list to raid Target for, which is good.
The same process happens with the clothes: do they have enough decent clothes to make it through the warm months? Probably. And what about shoes? Definitely a need. If nothing else, that'll be the one "new thing" each boy definitely gets. Their backpacks and lunchboxes miraculously held up and have another school year left in them, at least.
Similarly, August is a time when teachers take the same stock of their own practice and decide what to keep and what to retire. Often the impulse, being economical as teachers are often forced to be, is to hang on to what we have…to maintain what is comfortable. If something comfortable is worn out, like a pair of shoes, we'll likely just replace it with an updated version of the same thing.
Updated same is not the same as new.
I see teachers, including myself, integrating updated same in our teaching practice and deceiving ourselves into believe that this represents change. Many of us are jaded against new, often because new is usually presented as an acronym or mandate that we don't really get to choose but still have to accept–even though ITSP (it, too, shall pass) as the edupendulum swings away.
My challenge to myself is to figure out what new I want to integrate this year. "If it ain't broke don't fix it" is a great motto for things with gears and belts and things we're content having stay the same.
I'll know I've found that new that I want to bring into my teaching when I start to feel nervous–even worried about failure. That uncertainty, that risk, is a sign that I'm on the verge of learning something.
What's the new, not the updated same, that you're considering in your teaching? What do you hope to see happen when it works?