Teach.com

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Change Can be Scary

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Our teachers are pretty darn good at what they do. Oh, we have a few who are struggling with classroom management and a few others who aren't the best team players, but overall they really come together for our students and that's what it's all about - the students.

Next school year our teachers will be facing a LOT of change and not all of our current teachers will be along for the journey. There are many reasons for that last sentence and I won't get into why I feel that way, but suffice it to say the changes we are about to encounter are scary.

If you've followed this blog you know that the current school year saw 1:1 iPads for our sixth grade teachers along with the requirement for them to use project based learning as their primary form of content delivery in their classrooms.

There were major technological hurdles to cross along the way and we are still having log-in issues for some of our students. In spite of these distractions, some of our teachers have been real troopers and have exceeded our expectations. And because of their tenacity we've even had students present their PBL/Tech skills to our school board. In turn the board has given us the green light to make some key changes.

For the 2013/2014 school year we will have 1:1 iPads for all 850 students and we will expect project based learning to be the primary mode of instruction in all of our content-area classrooms. This information was presented to the teachers this week at our faculty meeting. Most teachers had expected us to be adding the pbl requirement to the 7th grade (with or without iPads) next year and our 8th grade the following year. Now? Boom - they're all getting it.

The other change they are about to face is the addition of a curriculum management system called C-SCOPE which they will be getting more information on during the month of May. The teachers will be using the Year At a Glance (YAG) and the Instructional Focus Document (IFD) from C-SCOPE. For some of the veteran teachers this might require the loss of some of their favorite topics. And it might force a sequencing change to their "normal" flow.

These losses can be troubling. And whenever there is change we, as leaders, must recognize these losses. Over the course of the next 4 months I need to help our teachers deal with the changes and their perceived (and actual) losses. It will be a challenging time for all of us but because these are great teachers we will survive all things scary.