An Era of Rapid Change

Graduation season around here has come to a close.  The skies parted for a brief moment, and the final piece to our annual graduation lineup was able to be held in its intended setting: outside under a June sky.  Throughout the day, each speaker, and there were quite a few of them, touched on the pre-requisite graduational topics: friends, opening doors, closing doors, opportunities, blazing paths not following them, and myriad quotes from men and women more wise than us all.  However, one idea permeated all of them: change.  Not just simple change, but rapid, constant and continuous change.

Apropos?

Whether or not we buy into the changing nature of how students can learn now, or whether or not we choose to wait for the research to come back that tells us that giving students access to content and learning when they want it and how they want it, is immaterial.  It’s here.  And it’s apparent to everyone–even graduation speech writers.

Over the last month, I have received more pushback from the teachers I work with, both constructive and destructive, about the way in which the business of curriculum is run.  Which direction are we going in?  Are we driven by the AP test/state report card/U.S. News and World Report Rankings?  What is the vision you have for us?  When will this relentless change stop or at least slow down?

There’s that word again.

It’s great to work with people who have been through situations like this before, situations in which those that work with you are frustrated and feel like they have no voice.  My boss, when I relayed some of the information and sentiments that I was fielding in my meetings, responded with this:

Listen to what they are saying, not how they are saying it.

It’s now three weeks since those meetings and those conversations with the teachers.  What have I taken away?  What were they saying?

Voice.

We need to have one.  We need to know that what we are feeling and what we are dealing with is going to be acted upon in some manner.  We also need to know that what we say has value and that we are heard.  We want to be a part of the change process.

Relevance.

We need to be working on ideas, plans, materal that is relevant to what we do on a daily basis.

Access.

We need to see what everyone else is doing.  Common planning time plus observation of other teachers within this department is essential to our growth.  How can we develop that?

How I respond to these ideas is a huge part of my summer plans.

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