There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to say goodbye.

It’s never easy. We try to be brave but it’s hard. Knowing we’ll never be together again can be rough.

Guys. You know what I’m talking about. The day you have to throw away the t-shirt you won in that 1992 softball championship. Maybe it’s that awesome hoodie you got back when you and your buddies used to go skiing every year. Or it’s your favorite pair of jeans.

That’s me today. I’ve had these jeans for maybe ten years. Comfortable. Broken in. They have been the go to pair of pants for a decade. But at this point, even I have to admit perhaps they’re just a little too broken in.

old jeans

Eventually our favorite stuff wears out and we have to move on. It’s hard but we do it cause, well . . . cause the stuff just doesn’t work anymore.

And if you’ve gotten this for, you’ve got to be asking yourself

Jeans? Seriously?

Trust me. There’s a point. Hang on. I  just a need a quick moment alone with my jeans.

Okay. I’m good.

Here’s the point.

It’s not just jeans. It’s how we teach.

Eventually strategies and resources and materials and teaching methods wear out. And we have to move on. It’s hard but it we do it cause, well . . . cause the strategies and resources and materials and teaching methods just don’t work anymore.

We have new research. New tools. New methods. New stuff. And we can’t pretend any longer that what we’ve been using up till now isn’t just a little too broken in. I heard a teacher this week say

These new standards look good and I agree that training kids to think historically is a good idea. I like the strategies we talked about but I just don’t think they’d work with my kids. I’ve got my textbook and my handouts and they’re still working for me. So I’m not sure when I might use that newer stuff.

Another person said

We will regret this. There is not a single shred of research that shows that this will work. Mark my words in five or seven years there will be all kinds of news reports about how little our kids know about social studies.

Hey. I know. Change is hard. But there is research. We know the kind of world our kids are entering after high school. We know what skills, knowledge, and tools that kids need to be successful. And by the way, we’ve been hearing news reports for the last 100 years about how little our students know about history and social studies. Memorizing facts and dates hasn’t worked. It’s time to move on.

Change is hard. Learning to teach using different tools is hard. Learning to let kids struggle to find answers rather than stepping in and giving them the answers isn’t easy. Giving up some of your favorite units to make room for more thinking, arguing, exploring, researching, reading, writing, and high levels of critical thinking makes us uncomfortable.

I get it.

Throwing away your favorite pair of jeans is tough. But there are days when you’ve got to do what’s best and move on.

Today is that day.