I innately stink at change. That probably seems like a strange quality to admit while working in the field of education, especially when my title clearly has the word “Innovation” built right in. I’m not afraid to admit it because I know that I recognize this weakness, I need to be cognizant of the way that I react to it, and I can be reflective enough to adjust the way that I react to changes in the way that I would want to model for other people. We say we are agents of change and everyone needs a growth mindset, and I heartily agree with all these things, but it doesn’t mean that change is any easier for me, and it also doesn’t mean that I should claim it is when it’s not. I know, however, that the way that I react to change, my attitude towards whatever adjustment I need to make, will dictate the way I feel about the resulting difference going forward. It will also have a positive or negative affect, depending how I react, on the the way people around me will feel moving forward.
I was recently in two separate situations where a decision I made about a change was questioned by a colleague. The first situation, the teacher asked me about the change, I explained the why behind the decision, and even though she didn’t necessarily agree with the outcome, she shrugged her shoulders, thanked me for explaining and smiled prior to walking away.
In the second situation, I was approached by a teacher in a hall. He was angry and confrontational, and even though I typically have complete faith in providing the why behind decisions, it was clear that in this case he was not ready to hear that (hopefully, yet). My attempt at explanations did nothing, and he left the conversation nearly as angry as he came to it.
Two very different reactions to change.
There are times when new initiatives and change can be extremely difficult, especially when the decisions made feel top down and we have very little control in what’s happening in a profession as personal as teaching.
But the one thing we do have complete control in is how we react to a change.