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Another Change? Great!

I'm not sure that I know of another profession that has as much continuous change as education. Ok, maybe technology, but I think that takes a close second! As we begin our career as teachers, we know we have a lot to learn. We expect that it may take a year or two to feel like we have things under control. (We were so naïve!)

What many of us (myself included!) didn't realize as new teachers, is that just when we begin to feel as though we have a hang of this teaching thing, something changes. Maybe our school has adopted a new phonics series or math program. Perhaps the state has adopted new standards, or our district has implemented a new grading system. These are just a few examples of the countless changes that come about in our careers. And not just every so many years, but every year, sometimes several times a year! It can be exhausting and overwhelming to say the least.

Just like most of us, I have not always been open to and accepting of change. When it is something I have already thought about trying, or something that right away seems as though it will be helpful, then I'm all about it! But, if it is something that seems difficult or is completely different from what I believe to be right, then it has not always been welcomed by me. "There's no way we can do that!" "How are we supposed to make that work?" "It sounds great, but I'm not changing what I've finally gotten to work for me." I'm sure I could have been heard saying any of these things at one time or another (even if just to myself!)

So what does it take to embrace change and give it a real try? Well, I think the first thing to do is to acknowledge why you are hesitant to embrace it in the first place. Often times it stems from fear. Fear of not being able to do it well enough. Or, maybe it is fear of the idea that this new way means that your current way isn't the correct way. I know that both of these ideas have been the reason for my hesitance in the past.

How can you get past your fear and embrace change? First, realize that you will never do something well if you don't even try! I'm sure we tell our students this often. Second, understand that it may be true that something you are doing is not the most effective way. AND THAT IS OK!!! We can not be expected to be experts in every area of teaching all of the time. We may feel like we should be, but that is just not possible! Teachers are life-long learners! Just because we have something new to learn does not mean that we are not successful teachers. Adapting to and learning new ideas, practices and strategies are what make us successful teachers.

Change is a constant in the education world. There will not be a year where you won't see something new. So....ACCEPT IT. EMBRACE IT. LOVE IT for what it is....a way for you to improve your practice, and continue your career as the valuable, successful teacher you are!

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