a·gain

/əˈɡen/

Again.

Again.

Again.

I have an issue with this word. It is becoming close to the level of my hatred for the infamous “E” word.  I’m adding “again” to the list of words that are severally misused and misunderstood. 

But yet this word is everywhere.  It is even chanted. I believe the word is being used to illicit solace and comfort.

From the context, I’ve heard “again” chanted, it is a cry to return to a time ago, to go backward in time, to a time prior. However, we rational people know that is NOT a thing. There is no Back to the Future time machine. How can you repeat something the same as before? Just the act of repeating makes it a new experience. 

And the bigger question- WHY WOULD YOU?

Maybe it’s us educators who truly understand the meaning of again. We do things again to do things BETTER. We do it to learn. We ask our learners to repeat not for the same result, but for a new result that is informed by the first. Musicians don’t preform a score over and over again to amuse themselves, they do it, to do it better. And not one attempt is the same as the first as you can’t erase all that you learned nor anticipate the possible mistakes of the now.

But yet masses are crying for AGAIN. And this cry is harmful. Not only because it is set up for failure, but because it is dismissing a KEY moment of learning that is essential for progress. A chance to reevaluate. For years I’ve followed blogs, think tanks, etc on the “future of learning” and the “future of the workforce” (as they are inherently linked) and the ideas are there, but that is where it ends, ideas. Understandably, execution is hard, how do you prepare for a new tomorrow when you still have to deal with demands today. How can you build tomorrow when the now never stops?

But what if everything stopped?! What if you were demanded to pause.

Oh wait…

that has happened.

Every person whom I’ve spoken to during this pandemic talks about so many issues they discovered in their professional fields. The pandemic jumping on any weakness it can, not just in our bodies, but also our systems. Some are big like in healthcare where they realized that they may need special wings for emergencies. Or small, like schools that are learning that they haven’t updated their LMS software in 20 years. Just felt too BIG to conquer. Moving all the teachers to a new modern system. Too hard. We are too “busy” to address these issues, but the NOW shows this procrastination is more harmful.

Like my new favorite person, Andrew Cuomo, has put so well…there is only doing BETTER. After Hurricane Sandy the Jersey shore didn’t build it “again.” No, they built something BETTER. 

So let’s open up the world again, but understand that it will never be the “again” being chanted and to attempt that is not only foolish, but dangerous. A dangerous misstep. No lesson learned. And the true meaning of AGAIN is to learn.

SO let’s do it AGAIN with the knowledge of the past for a different outcome.

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