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Monday, August 22, 2011

Embrace the Struggle

I'm stealing borrowing this title from my good friend, Dr. Gregory C. Farley.

As educators, we are continually confronted with new situations. Minimally, the start of each shool year brings us a fresh crop of students. Most of us, however, face changes more frequently. Our colleagues might move on to fulfill personal and professional goals, our district may implement a new curriculum or revise an entrenched program, the building principal could resign or be reassigned, and state and local mandates might require us to change everything we do. Regardless, the previous examples of change can easily disrupt our usual routines. How we react to change, however, will determine whether we continue to do all we can to get our students to achieve at their highest levels and continue towards fulfilling our vision.

Dr. Farley and I suggest that whenever educators are confronted with change we must Embrace, Adapt, and Enhancethe change. The type of changes we refer to here are those that we have little control over, for example mandates and directives. Philosophical differences aside, we must remember that most schools and districts follow a bureaucratic model and we are part of the organization. Depending on the initiative that is changing, we may have had the opportunity to have our voices heard, or more likely than not in the case of mandates and directives, what we think about the change just doesn't matter. In the latter case, we must put our philosophical differences aside and embrace the change. Once you get a consensus of your team to embrace the change, then you can tailor the change to best serve your students by adapting and enhancing it. This is our duty as educators, because as we know, most mandates and directives that arise from the state and federal level will do little to improve student learning.

So, as we begin a new school year, embrace the changes that lie ahead. Then, determine the best courses of action to adapt and enhance those changes to best meet the needs of your students.

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