Friday, March 29, 2013

Having the Courage to Change

I was recently sitting with a group of educators and we were discussing technology and 21st Century Learning.  The "C" word came up several times.  We discussed change and what it will mean in our schools.  The best line I heard was from a 6th grade teacher.  He stated, "We ask kids to adjust and change all the time, but yet as teachers we resist it."  This was a profound statement.

Let me start by stating why I believe "Change" is necessary.  The world we live in today is vastly different from what it looked like 5-10 years ago.  The way we always did things must shift.  Knowledge in the form of facts is easily accessible.  The educational shift must be in the form of higher level thinking, creating, analyzing, and thinking critically.

First, change is possible, but people have to see the value in changing.

Second, develop a vision and plan for sustainable change.  Without a vision and a well-thought out plan change won't last, it won't be sustainable over time.  The mistake I see here from some leaders is that the vision is in place, but the plan is top heavy.  I believe sustainable change occurs when you pace correctly, revisit often and welcome feedback along the way.

Third, I often hear people talk about "buy-in", I believe "buy-in" is acceptance.  I would argue that I don't hope for "buy-in", I hope for people to "embrace" change.  I believe when someone embraces something they commit to continuous improvement.

Fourth, listen carefully to the biggest critics.  Expect people to resist, find out what the issues are, try to break down barriers and calm fears.  Differentiate expectations, allow some people to "dip their toes in" and others to "dive in head first".

Fifth, continuous professional development must be available.  Whether it is a full or half day workshop or an after school session it is vital to provide PD to staff that crave it and want it.  Without professional development the change will not sustain itself and frustration will increase.

Finally, expect and embrace failures.  If you aren't failing you aren't learning.  When I was in the classroom I wanted my students to learn from mistakes and failures.  I tried to create healthy risk takers, students willing to try something new and different.  I was never and have never been a fan of the status quo.  Maybe that is why my favorite poem is Robert Frost's, The Road Not Taken.

This brings me to my next step, Having the Courage to Change.  Educators must have the courage to change.  Earlier this year our district went from Google to Outlook.  After two months the district decided Google was a more efficient platform for what we needed to accomplish, so the district changed back to Google.  This change was criticized, I support the tough choices, I support having the courage to say, "We need to go in a different direction."  In the classroom we are going through an educational revolution.  The days of teaching facts and memorization are gone.  We now must dig deeper and create students that are able to think critically.  This is a change.  This shift in education means teachers must approach lessons in a different way.  Technology will not solve everything, I believe the solution lies in the educators.  Educators must have the courage to make changes to their approach in the classroom.  We owe it to our students to embrace the shift and help them be prepared for our ever changing World.


March 29th - April 7th:  SPRING BREAK, Enjoy the time off : )

Monday, April 8th:  Welcome Back!

Tuesday, April 9th:  String Team 4pm
Tuesday, April 9th:  PTO Meeting at 7pm
Wednesday, April 10th:  Assembly grades 3-5 at 8:45
Thursday, April 11th:  Spring Pictures
Thursday, April 11th:  KDG Orientation at CAC 7pm
Saturday, April 13th:  Vendor Fair at Warner Elementary

iPad iNformation:

Life of a 1:1 iPad teacher shared by @becdavies00

iClassroom iManagement shared by @moash245

Making Classroom Time More Valuable with Edmodo  shared by @KleinErin

5 Fantastic Apps for the Common Core  shared by @DrSpikeCook

Articles Worth Your Time:

So You Want To Be A Blogger...  shared by @web20classroom

The 5 E's in Education  shared by @web20classroom

8 Reasons Why You Should Create a Blog for your Class  shared by @tomwhitby

What the #NerdyBookClub Taught Me  shared by @pernilleripp

Take Care of the Student  by @casas_jimmy

staarN 5th Grade  by @8Amber8  (favorite quote, "not a basal in sight!")

Grade Change: Shifting the Thinking about Grading  by @NMHS_Principal

Making Meaningful Sense of the World by @gcouros

50 Educational Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know About  shared by @MrPowersCMS

Teaching May Be the Secret to a Good Life  shared by @joesanfelippofc

Wonderful Tech and Teaching Website!  shared by @dreambition @powell4thgrade @runfardvs

Shut Up and Run Blog  by @ShutUpRun

Videos Worth Watching:

@RickWormeli shares about Redo's, Retakes and Do-Overs (9 min)
shared by @RickWormeli and @drjolly

REMC Connected Educators Series on Skype in the Classroom  (11 min)  shared by @powell4thgrade

Bic Pens for Women (4 min) by @TheEllenShow

Baseball is Back!  Tigers in '13? (4 min)


  1. I just snorted my cereal milk because I was laughing so hard at Ellen's "Bic for Her" clip. Love her!

    There were some great tools I'd never heard of in "50 Education Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know About." Great find!

    Happy Break!

  2. Ellen cracks me up! Glad you enjoyed. Those 50 Educational Technology tools were eye opening, I'm glad you checked them out. See you soon : )


  3. This is a great suggestion and, as always, you have such a great way with words.
    Thanks for your wise and entertaining thoughts.
    best travel tripods