Posted by: darcymullin | July 17, 2012

Change? You better.


For some the term change is a four letter word.

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.

Why?

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.

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Responses

  1. Hi Darcy,
    I love this post!

    You are correct, we would not accept the attitude that many teachers and those in education give regarding change being just another reincarnation of something that came before.

    So, having said that, how do we change their attitude?

    I try to change people’s attitude by modelling my own learning, risk taking and growth, in hopes they will follow my lead. It is tough though because many just won’t be comfortable to take those risks, regardless of the caring environment that is cultivated.

    Is it okay to be fine with focusing on those who are willing to take the risks needed to change (while not ignoring those who are not, obviously).

    How do you find the balance in this change process?

    Love Simon Sinek, btw. 🙂

    Tia

  2. Great post Darcy! I just watched the Simon Sinek video you have linked to here and have been thinking about possible ways to use it with my staff. I am thinking it may be great to show and talk about before our first Meet the Teacher Open House in September. Thanks for getting me thinking!

  3. Tia/Lori, thanks for taking the time to comment. Whether it is working through the process of change (learning) or engaging with parents, I like what Simon says – it is a human world we live in and it is through face to face interactions we find the common ground which is the foundation of trust.

  4. Hi Darcy, Great post and lots of good thoughts here.
    You already know I am hooked on Simon and am very excited to read the book 🙂 I am also excited to hear you (and others) are going to read the book as well. I felt a bit sad hearing his talk, as I recognized that I do not work in an environment that he describes (where you know everyone has your back), which made me realize that if I feel this, student’s must also feel this. That troubles and puzzles me, as I do not know how to change this climate.
    But great to start the conversation and great to keep it going through blogging and out on Twitter.
    Carolyn

    • Carolyn, I agree with you. As I was watching the video I was wondering how we get there? I think the key is focusing on those face to face interactions and finding common ground which he says is the foundation for trust. I hope the book gives us more insight. Looking forward to reading and sharing.

  5. […] last post was titled “Change. You Better.” While I stand behind the content of what I wrote, I think I would change the context. The idea that […]

  6. Thanks Darcy. Love the thought provoking nature of this post that forces us to reflect on beliefs and statements we might make without necessarily living them. Wayne Hulley likes to say that “different isn’t always better but better is always different”.


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