All Aboard the Steam Train
In the middle of the 1980’s, Peter Gabriel had a #1 hit song called Sledgehammer. The overall meaning of the song is an absolute mystery to me, but there is one lyric that has always stood out as meaningful. Gabriel declares (seemingly at times, to me directly):
You could be a STEAM TRAIN, if you’d just lay down your tracks
After months of research, I’ve discovered absolutely no hard evidence that Gabriel was singing about teaching at a technical college. Still, there is obvious transferability in the message. If I want to be a Steam Train Educator, I need to consistently spend time and effort getting myself prepared for that.
- Each time I seek out and attend professional development, I am laying down tracks
- Each time I seek out and share best practices, I am laying down tracks
- Each time I tweak a lesson to make it more applicable for students, I am laying down tracks
- Each time I plan to incorporate employability skills, I am laying down tracks
- Each time I read an article or watch a video, I am laying down tracks
I believe that each of us has the opportunity to be a Steam Train again with every new moment in the classroom? Since we already do a good job though…and maybe have been doing so for a long time, we may forget that we still have to opportunity to go from Good to Sledgehammer.
This may not happen, however, if you don’t spend time in the “off-season” laying down our tracks.