Change is Sneaking Up on Us.

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Embracing change is a gift.

As educators, we don’t seem to have this gift.

That’s the bad news.Do Educators Really Believe?

The good news is if you are an elementary teacher you are now a proud owner of at least 17 new coffee cups with apples on them (Merry Christmas everybody!!!).

And a variety of lotions.  But that is a whole different blog.

I think the world of education is about to change in a very big way.  It is also very likely that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

But I have a blog that constantly needs content, so here’s my theory.

Change is happening right under our noses and most educators don’t even see it coming. 

The bad economy, advances in technology, and higher expectations for administrators and teachers leads me to believe that we are all headed in a new direction.

Some of this is related to finances and some is just the general public believing that schools can and have to do better jobs.

And who better to lead us in this quest of excellence?  The federal government.


I just got a migraine.

Or punched in the throat.

Which is bad.  But it’s better than the Swine Flu that was going to get me earlier in the semester (will we ever hear about the dreaded pig flu again???).

What I do know is it’s a bad time to have a career with tenure, especially when the rest of the country is struggling to keep their jobs.

As educators, I don’t think we have a good grasp on how the rest of society perceives us.

Our only hope is people will continue to hate bankers and won’t turn on educators (so keep up the bad work, Wall Street!!)

The old rules about education and educators are about to be tossed out the window (but again, what do I know other than this blog needs content like Buddy needs dog food… and a back rub).

State governments are in fiscal trouble and they are going to be forced to make difficult decisions.  Many of these will involve K-12 Education.

I’ve also noticed the Obama Administration has a pattern of doing things in a very big way.

Health care is the latest example (am I the only one who gets the feeling our premiums are about to skyrocket and no doctor will ever schedule another appointment to see us…).

It can only be a matter of time before the good people in the White House tackle schools.  And testing.  And teachers.  And administrators.  And tenure.  And evaluations.

Only time will tell if this new path is a productive one.

Change is often discussed at school, but almost never embraced.

My assumption is this time will be no different.

Except this time I don’t think we will be able to ride the changes out.

I think they may be big.  And I think they may be uncomfortable.  And I think they will be permanent.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is all bad.

I am just saying we probably should have paid more attention when President Obama ran under the slogan of “Change.”

Because I don’t think educators necessarily thought he was talking about us.

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7 Responses to “Change is Sneaking Up on Us.”

  1. Toby Fischer
    on Dec 22nd, 2009
    @ 7:56 pm

    I believe you are correct, change is happening. Change needs to happen. The school system designed for the industrial age isn’t preparing students for the information age. I am optimistic that those of us in educational leadership still have a small window in which to make these changes ourselves. If we can start acting now, or hopefully already have systemic changes in the works, we can be the models for what the needed change looks like. Hopefully we can do this before for the politicians poke their heads in another field they know very little about.

  2. Unklar
    on Dec 22nd, 2009
    @ 7:57 pm

    teachers embracing change = pay day

  3. kwhobbes
    on Dec 22nd, 2009
    @ 11:02 pm

    Change – like babies diapers – is something we cannot avoid. Being somewhat of an expert with diapers, I have 8 children remember, it doesn’t matter how much you try to avoid the mess, eventually you need to change it and, this is from some serious avoidance, the sooner the better. There is nothing like a baby with a diaper rash to get people really upset with you. So it needs to be in education. We’re all waiting for “someone” to change that diaper – we’ve been in waiting for many years – but the rash that has developed will not go away overnight. In fact, it may take the public a long time to get over this rash as things are exposed to the air. Really, people have been talking about change in education for far too long but no one has been able to bring this “change” around. They might have heaved that education baby to the table but, for some reason, when it came time to change they just couldn’t do it.
    As an administrator, I’ve been watching this for quite some time and from my point of observation, our greatest problem is that we don’t really want to offend anyone – to tell them that something stinks. We’re too aware that it might offend someone, like a parent or someone in such a position, to tell them that something stinks.
    So, we’re going to have change but I’m not sure that we are in any position to direct that change since we’ve ignored the calls of so many who have suggested change and been ignored. Well, not ignored, but, in the end, ignored. We go back to what is comfortable and keep doing what we do.
    I agree the air is ripe with a need for change. I sure hope we have enough talc powder to dust over what we uncover.

  4. Kelley
    on Dec 23rd, 2009
    @ 12:52 am

    Oh man, I only have 13 years left till I retire…I don’t wanna change NOW! Can we do it AFTER I retire?

  5. Bill
    on Dec 23rd, 2009
    @ 6:40 am

    I agree that change needs to take place, but I don’t think that the change will be necessarily good for all students. I’ve been a principal for eight years now and I am also the father of twin 15 year old boys and a 10 year old boy. The only thing the twins share in life is a birthday and a passion for sports. Academically, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Twin “A” has a 106 average and scored a 205 on his PSAT as a freshman. Twin “B” is lucky to be in the 70′s and hates almost every subject he is required to take in school. They have been raised in a very education oriented house, my wife is a sixth grade science teacher, with no variations in rewards, consequences for behavior.

    Why all this background?

    The background is to illustrate my concern for the changes in education. Twin “A” eats up everything he can which expands his knowledge, while Twin “B” avoids it. Why? Because it has no relevance to him. The change which will be coming will be all about more testing and accountability, not a bad thing, but how does that help prepare Twin “B” for his future? He wants to work with his hands, construction, heavy machinery, etc. He could care less about calculus and greek mythology. He doesn’t care about the phase of the moon or metamorphic rock. I know he may need this information if he is building a house in an area with a high concentration of metamorphic rock, but right now that doesn’t matter. He can learn that as he completes an apprenticeship. There are plenty of students that don’t need to learn everything the government deems necessary. I have yet to have an incredibly deep discussion of Beowulf with any of my friends or colleagues. I have three college degrees, so I’m not a complete moron, but Beowulf hasn’t served a purpose in my life. I have never read Huck Finn, I can still perform my job. I couldn’t tell you anything I discussed in my World History class that has had a significant impact on my job or job performance. Do the students in China, who we are endlessly compared to, spend two years on American History? Let’s look at what the children need to be successful in real world skills. It’s great that Twin “A” will know and understand more calculus than I could ever hope to, but will he be able to balance his checkbook? Will he be able to avoid credit card traps? Will he be able to re-wire an outlet in his house if he needs to? Let’s make change where change is due, but let’s not forget that not everyone is college bound and school has become something to do because you have to. Twin “B” doesn’t hate that he has to go to school because he can’t read or has a disability, he hates going to school because he can’t see how Classic Greek Literature will help him be successful in his adult life. The sad part is…I’m not sure of the answer.

  6. Sharon
    on Dec 29th, 2009
    @ 10:03 am

    I think you are absolutely correct that change is coming and many educators don’t know it is going to happen. We have been talking about the need to change education for a very long time. At least the past 10-15 years have centered on the need to change because of the impact technology communications have impacted the world. In education, very little has changed in many schools. Many teachers still think they need to know everything about a technology before they can allow students to use it in class. My children, and many of their friends, got iTouches or new cell phones for Christmas. The learn very quickly how to use these and don’t need tutorials to figure it out. What they need are educators who will understand how these mobile tools along with computers can help students learn. If we don’t start making this change ourselves, change will happen to us…and we won’t like it. For an interesting read on this topic, checkout Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns written by Clayton Christianson.

  7. David
    on Jan 3rd, 2010
    @ 2:03 pm

    I believe Kurt Anderson in his 2009 book Reset speaks to the your statement: “The bad economy, advances in technology, and higher expectations for administrators and teachers leads me to believe that we are all headed in a new direction.” We are living in a perfect time to use those very forces for the sake of improving our educational system and benefiting our students.

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