We have all worked with people who have believed in the old adage, “If we ignore this _______ it too shall pass.” I have heard people cite the phrase, “this is nothing new, it’s just _________ reincarnated.” Often these are excuses not to change or reflect on current practice.
We often call ourselves learners, or even better life long learners, but are we? I would argue that we need to be.
I think John Wooden says it best…
Failure to change is often just stubbornness that comes from an unwillingness to learn, an inability to realize that you’re not perfect. There cannot be progress without change-even though not all change is progress.
As an educational community, we need to learn and progress. We don’t need the stubbornness that hinders growth. Simply put, the excuses mentioned above simply aren’t acceptable. For the good of our students and our schools we need to embrace innovation and change. As teachers we would not accept this mindset from our students, so we should not accept it for ourselves or our colleagues.
That said, we need to be mindful of what we are doing because as Wooden states, not all change is progress. I can think of some educational “reforms” that would fall into this category. But again using the excuse of, “this is another top down agenda driven by _________ .” doesn’t hold water either. Tom Schimmer in his post “I Trust Your Intentions” says:
Questioning someone’s intentions cuts to their character and none of us – none – are fully qualified to judge that invisible entity. I believe many things in our system do need to change and/or evolve, BUT I also believe that 99.99% of the teachers, administrators, district staff, support workers, custodians, secretaries, etc. are doing what they believe is in the best interest of the students in our schools.
According to Simon Sinek in his TedTalk, he says we need to surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe. It is the basis of trust. The question is…how do we develop this in our schools, so that we create cultures where people feel comfortable taking risks, making mistakes and pushing themselves to learn? Do we need to rely on the handshake he describes? Face to face interactions?
It is incumbent upon us to develop a school culture where we do not have the split that Stuart references. It all comes down to relationships and personal contact. I think Jeff Delp summarizes it well in his post “Students Matter Most!”.
There are so many distractions…testing, budgets, inboxes, meetings, curriculum requirements, and paper work ad nauseam. Without mindful consideration, it is so easy to get caught up in our adult world, with adult problems, and forget our purpose – to serve the children who have been entrusted to our care.
To me, this all comes back to learning and changing to serve the students that walk through the door. I think we can all agree on that.