Changing education for the better

BY Bill Reagan

I got a haircut this week. Not earth shattering news, I know, but this haircut was a new experience for me. I went to a barber college.

The young lady who cut my hair seemed a bit excited, not about cutting my hair, but about getting to cut somebody’s hair. She seemed to have had some experience and started right in.

I wondered a bit about how things were going when a couple of other ladies, presumably teachers, kept coming over to look at my head. Sometimes they would cut a little. Other times they explained something or another to the young woman taking care of me.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in my novice barber’s shoes. Not that I’ve ever cut hair, but I have been a novice many times before — novice preacher, novice columnist, novice executive, a lot of novice other things.

It is the beginning of a new school year. Novice teachers have taught their first lesson plan. Novice first graders have braved their first day of school. Novice college students have spent their first week away from home. It is all so exciting and terrifying. We’re most alive when we’re terrified. Maybe not “terrified” in the sense of fearing for one’s life, but “terrified” as in “terrific.” Both words have the same Latin root.

Learning new things is a terrific experience. A long, long time ago I attended teacher’s college. Back then education was defined as a change in knowledge, skills or attitudes. I’m sure today’s definition has changed. I hope so. I hope educators today know more than we did forty years ago. Education is still about change, however, and change for the better.

So, let a little terror into your life. Embrace education. Embrace change.

By the way, my new barber did a good job.

Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.