Overcoming adversity builds T.R.U.E.G.R.I.T … small setbacks build character. Setbacks come in different forms, especially in education. Many see change as a setback, something that will disappoint and have complications. The fear of change has always had an influence on the mood of teachers, students, and parents alike. You can see it in a person’s eyes. The fear that creeps over them when you are trying to explain what is about to take place. The questions forming in their minds with every word spoken. You find yourself in that moment choosing which road you are going to travel.
Do you continue to move ahead with change or do you comply and conform? Do you actually have a choice?
Have you ever sat in your first in-service day of the year to hear the changes that are coming your way? The kind of change that is done just for the sake of change and not necessarily for the better. You find your entire body tightening up as if you cannot take one more word. You wonder how all your optimism could possibly leave your body in 20 seconds or less. You spend the following hours telling yourself to wipe away the negativity so that you can get back to your happy place. The place where you just redecorated your classroom that awaits smiling, optimistic, and excited children. Is this a setback? My guess is that the change in which creates that tense feeling is most often not change for the better,
I’m one to choose the road less traveled. Yet compliancy is at the forefront. Compliance is not just a term we use with students. It has been a professional responsibility that has inhibited my teaching and growth for many years forcing me back on a one lane highway… traveling in one direction with head on traffic. George Couros (author of Innovator’s Mindset) states, “Compliance does not foster innovation. In fact, demanding conformity does quite the opposite.” Where was George when I needed him for his perspective? The right perspective can help make the impossible possible!
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ― Shel Silverstein
Then there was the in-service day that did change! The one that went from a hot sticky auditorium (with a lecture on how we need to be better before we even get our fresh start) to an air-conditioned banquet hall with the high school’s marching band loudly playing the fight song just for their teachers. The change that gives you chills and resets your inspirational compass so that it points straight forward. My guess is that the change that gives you chills is the kind that George Couros is talking about… Innovation! The kind that has your innovative administration ( Dr. Jacie Maslyk Dr. Michelle Miller #PLF) challenging you to open a #twitter account and connect with other educators in the crusade to remake learning. The kind of administration that TRUSTS you with social media.
What about that change? George Couros says, “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.” #InnovatorsMindset
My current administration has brought on many changes… positive changes… innovative changes! We now have permission to choose how we will teach the common core standards in our own individual classrooms in place of being on the same page, on the same day, just like all other classrooms in the district. We now have tech-fest where lead learners step up and share their knowledge to help push our district forward. We now have trust to choose #flexibleseating as an option for a learning environment that challenges and encourages all children. We now have permission to blend our curriculum so that we are no longer teaching the same concepts in 3 different subject areas according to the map. We now have district goals to engage all students every day, all day- to show purpose, passion, and pride in school and throughout the community. This change is AMAZING!
For me it is always my mindset that turns things around. Setback or serendipity? I’ll choose the road less traveled! As George Couros says, “We need to make the positive so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear.”