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Thursday, January 07, 2016

Educator Growing Pains

Not unlike individuals, systems experience growing pains too.

As educational systems grow and change, those impacted by that change will be affected in ways both positive and challenging.

How has your educational system evolved in the past few years? How has this affected your attitude, effort, and ability to do a good job?

We also see the affect of growing pains on families and students too? For example some family members still measure student learning by a grade on a paper rather than the content of the paper or project. Grades can provide some helpful information still, but grades don't tell the whole story of learning or growth.

The shift to teaching in this age of limitless information versus an age of limited information is a big shift, one that educators and others are discussing everywhere. This shift creates change--change in attitude, change in focus, and change in what we do.

One way to deal with growing pains is to acknowledge the change aloud and with others by focusing on the following questions:
  • How has our system changed with regard to focus, effort, and result?
  • How have our goals changed--goals for professional learning, collegial collaboration, lesson planning and preparation, expectations for students and educators?
  • How has our structure changed? Who has what roles and what are the related expectations and foci of those educational roles?
  • Demeanor: What does it mean to be a professional educator today? What does that look like?
Yesterday at our professional learning event, I was cognizant of multiple changes including change of people, change of roles, change of format, change of content, and even subtle changes in expectations. I wondered about this. I wondered what this means for me and for the entire community of educators.

How has your system acknowledged change? How does your system communicate expectations and goals? In what ways, do you continue to build and encourage a community of learners amidst the ever changing and evolving landscape of teaching and learning today? I believe these are important questions to consider as you move your own and your system's professional practice forward.