Sunday, July 24, 2016

Change Takes Time

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama

I admit I'm impatient for change. Why?

I see the potential that change will bring. I understand how old systems of education impede the promise to teach every child well. I know that old systems are too slow and cumbersome for new think and work in this knowledge age.

Yet, I also know that change takes time, and sometimes impatience for change can also serve to impede and hinder optimal change.

So what's a teacher to do?

I think teachers need to outline their goals, and follow their individual path when it comes to change within their grasp--the work they can do on their own to make better their service to children.

I also believe that educators have to work collectively for greater change, and that collective change takes solidarity and skill.

There are many ways that we can reach for that collective change and there are a number of supports as well.

First, educators can join their local union. Unions, at their best, are advocates and supporters of positive change.

Next, educators can hone their advocacy and leadership skills. Programs like the Teacher Leadership Initiative and TeachPlus's Online Policy course lead in this direction.

Also educators need to respectfully and regularly speak up when they have questions or see room for improvement and change. Too often we may stay mired in confusion or in old ways that we know can be better for fear of speaking up--that has to change if we want to better schools for students.

The new ESSA law provides an open door for greater teacher advocacy, voice, and choice. It's imperative that educators everywhere learn about this law and use it to their advantage when it comes to having what they need to teach every child well.

The more I look around at the world today, the more promise and potential I see for education--a good education does have the potential to better our lives, communities, nations, and world. In this amazing time of change when it comes to teaching and learning, it's imperative that we take advantage of all the opportunity that exists to reshape our education systems to engage, empower, and promote the best learning and teaching for each and every student.

So it's okay to be impatient for change, but it's not okay to let that impatience deter you from a strategic, thoughtful path of individual and collective effort and change. It takes skill to use impatience as the fuel, but then patience as the path when it comes to good growth and change.