Time for a change

quote by Admiral Grace Hopper

quote by Admiral Grace Hopper

The words above can pervade many work cultures.
It is no different in education. Here’s why.

“We’ve always done it this way,” says…

There is nothing to strive towards. It says, “we’re out of ideas.”
Change is frightening, requires hard work to implement, and may have unpredictable outcomes. It says our corporate culture is too fragile and or afraid to take chances that might result in failure. Run!

“We’ve always done it this way,” says…
Disruption and change are not allowed in the building because they challenge the structures and status quo. It says, “free and fresh thinking are not welcome.” Is there any place where this is a healthy work ethos?

“We’ve always done it this way.” says…
It’s easier to go with the flow than rock the boat. It says that making waves might sink your career. Let me throw you a lifeline.

A friend gave me some great advice when I started out my career as a teacher. He said, “Never stay at a school for too long. Take the opportunity to join new communities of learners to keep your practice growing.” In my career, to date, I have worked at 3 schools and have loved every new adventure.

Was it scary to leave and join a bunch of strangers? Yes! Was it worth? YES!
Do I miss my colleagues? Of course, but that is exactly what coffee shops were made for — reconnecting.

Joining a new staff allowed me to broaden my professional practice and experience new communities of learners while broadening my world-view in education. Think of it from this angle; by making a change you will bring the benefit of your experiences and enthusiasm to a new school. It is in these shifts and new partnerships that strengthens our collective wisdom, and is crucial to innovation of our profession.

It is the time of year where we are asked to submit our teaching assignment requests for next September. For many new teachers this is a great chance to stretch beyond the confines of the comfort zone towards new opportunities.

Frank Zappa said, “Without deviation from the norm, progress is impossible.” This has to start from within. If you work in a place where innovation and growth are discouraged, let me encourage you to take a chance, step out of your comfort zone, and make a change. Seek out communities where ideas are fostered, tested, and curated.

Change is often messy, but it is important to progress. A very very few might still lament not being able to hand write report cards. Although, at the time, there were skeptics of the technology and the disruption it caused while teachers learnt and mastered a newer method of reporting.*

Step out, break free, and affect change in your space. Do anything, but maintain the status quo.
I encourage you to find like minded educators who value the process over perfection and consider where to make a change in your practice whether it is by applying to a new school or in courageously sharing fresh ideas in yours.

*If you’ve seen my handwriting you will be glad the reports are typed and printed.

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Updated: February 18, 2016 — 8:28 pm

The Author

Will Gourley

Currently in my nth iteration of life. Grade 6 lead learner at Beckett Farm PS in the YRDSB. Currently in my 8th year of focusing on disruptive, divergent, and brain based learning. Member of the global TED-Ed(Club) movement and 1 of 60 TED Ed Innovative Educators. Twitter @willgourley Proudly blogging here and at https://escheweducationalist.wordpress.com/

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