I do not know of a time in history when ‘being in the trenches’ conjured a pleasant image? Yet in the past few weeks I’ve heard teaching referred to a number of times that way. I’ve made this reference before, but not for a long time now, and that has been intentional. Like I mentioned in my “Let’s Transform Our Learning Metaphors” Ignite presentation a while back, it’s time for us to look at the metaphors we use in education and really question them.
But of all the metaphors we use, this one baffles me the most. How did an analogy of one of the ugliest parts of one of the messiest wars become the ‘home’ of teachers in classrooms?
If you are a teacher, you are not in the trenches… you are in an amazing place where we change the lives of young children. You don’t leave students shell-shocked. You don’t dodge bullets, or carry a gas mask, or deal with trench foot. And you don’t have anything to gain by metaphorically connecting the classroom to trenches.
Let’s leave trenches to the history buffs, and move our classrooms into an era of discovery, enlightenment and openness.
What’s a learning metaphor that you either hate or love?