Over a month ago during Spring Break I started the book Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Loved the book, but due to parenthood, teaching, and coaching I have not picked it up in a few weeks. Today I was laying out by the pool and picked it back up.
I came to a page that was talking about change needs to happen before crisis happens. Hmmm. What is a considered crisis? What if crisis is gradual?
For the past 5 years I have had a passion for technology integration. Not for just using technology in the classroom, but using it without it being something separate from the everyday learning in the classroom. I have taught for 7 years now. My first three years were at a very small rural private school. I saw that school go from having one computer in an office to a full computer lab during that time. (Computers donated to the school because a guy in Washington accidentally clicked the wrong link on google.) I then moved to public school. Schools who have the money for the resources that could change learning. The first year I was at a school who had a tech rep with the same passions I have. She left during that year and I left at the end. Since then I have yet to see anyone push for teachers to even try to integrate technology. No passion, no caring. There are teachers who do this, but I can see their frustration of no labs, wifi not working, etc. It is heartbreaking. My thesis for my Ed S was to see if a website that held weekly contest would increase technology usage or at least get someone to think about using it. This worked to an extent. It opened up a dialouge that was not there before. Some teachers had never thought about using a things like digital cameras in the classroom. Others were eager to share what they were already doing. But why change? Why do anything different than what you have been doing that works?
Without leadership pushing for change, why would people change? Without someone teaching them how to change, why would we assume they know where to start? Yes I think as educators, the life-long learner mindset should be the standard. But where do these teachers go to learn? Someone has to tell them about PLNs and blogs. They need to meet in PLCs to share ideas. But if no one shares, they can just stay doing what they have always done. We can cross our fingers and hope they take a day out of school to go to a PD. I wish I could meet with these teachers and tell them about it. Oh how I wish. But I have mandatory responsibilites and only a 1/2 of a prep period.
I hope we do not have to sit and wait for a crisis to occur for change to be made. I hope the crisis has not already begun and we are too behind to see that. We need to make a “switch” before children suffer because of the crisis. Paul “Bear” Bryant had an ant plan he said this about it: “I told them my system was based on the “ant plan,” that I’d gotten the idea watching a colony of ants in Africa during the war. A whole bunch of ants working toward a common goal.” Through the PLN I see these ants. I want to see the ants on a smaller scale. In schools. With leaders.
What the heck is a crisis? Kids still sitting in rows, reading texts and answering questions at end of chapter? Is the crisis gradual? Well no changes in the last few years could have a gradual result. If you are not moving forward, you are either standing still or going backwards.
This is just me thinking aloud. I guess stating my frustration. I am just ready to see the switch…