One of the conversations that you will here from school districts is the idea that they want people to embrace change. One of the things that I believe in is that change solely for the sake of change, is not a good idea. It has to be meaningful change. Change does not necessarily equal meaningful change. For this to happen, you can not only outline the what and how, you need to also clearly articulate the why.
This is crucial.
Yet something that I have seen are many people in these leadership positions, are really open to pushing change, yet struggle mightily when having change thrust upon them. If people in leadership positions are not open to being challenged on ideas that are happening in schools, especially when those ideas impact kids and teachers, why would people be open to embracing change? It needs to be modelled at all levels.
For example, if the initiatives that are pushed from a central office, and often IT departments, that are not necessarily “what is best for kids”, is the decision that is ultimately made steering your organization into the best direction? The needs of students and educators should lead how decisions are being made from administrative positions.
If we are to really promote and help others embrace meaningful change, these things are crucial:
We need to start with the question “what is best for learners?”, and work backwards from there.
We need to be open to pushback, and in fact, encourage it. If we can’t defend and articulate why we are doing what we are doing, it might not be worth doing.
We need to create a vision for education together, not just push our vision onto others.
Understand that when we say people should be “flexible”, that doesn’t really mean people should be “compliant”. Being flexible is about working together, not being open to do exactly what one is told to do. Shared solutions are the ones that are most often implemented.
The higher we go up in any organization, the more people we serve, not the other way around. If you are in a leadership position, always remember this.
The need to encourage others to embrace meaningful change, needs to be modelled at all levels, especially from the top. We expect teachers to not only teach, but to be willing to “learn”. Modelling their willingness to learn is a crucial example for students to learn from. “Leaders” should not only be willing to lead, but to be led.
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