How to Rock the Boat (and create real change in your school)

New year’s signifies another rotation around the sun. All too often, we begin the year with a burning ball of fire in our chests, hoping to change our habits for the better. However, the cold air (at least for us in the northeast) and short days seem to cool the fire and, quickly, we fall back into similar routines. Why not change this? Why not let 2014 be a bit different? This year, I implore all educators to pick their goal at their school and stick to it. A child’s life may just depend on it.

 

At every school there are issues that adults discuss and talk (aka complain) about on a daily basis. Everyone has a solution that would obviously work much better than anything anyone has tried before. However, very few times, do people act on their ideas. Our children need more educators willing to take risks, willing to fight for justice, willing to step outside the box to engage them and get them to realize the power knowledge can hold; willing to put children first in their mission to influence the world for generations to come.

I know everyone is stressed. I know everyone is overworked. I know there are limitations to what changes can be made in some cases. However, when you look at history and you look at those individuals who have made a truly lasting impact in the lives of many, they were always facing the same obstacles we are today. Often times, the hurdles were much greater than those that we face today. However, these individuals didn’t simply identify the obstacles; they found a way through them. It is this determination and perseverance that we often look to build in our students and we critique when it is not present. What better way to educate than to lead by example? I implore each and every educator reading this blog to do the following:

1. Select an Issue (large or small) that you care passionately about within your school community.

2. Identify key stakeholders and what their concerns or motives are within the issue.

3. Find a small group of stakeholders (administrators, teachers, parents, students) who hold the same interest.

4. Identify the key change(s) you would like to see and envision what “could be.”

5. As a team, evaluate the possible hurdles or obstacles you may come up against and a possible course of action if you do face these challenges.

6. Decide on an achievable goal for the year, a tangible course of action, and a concrete place to start.

7. Face adversity

8. Accept that no plan gets implemented 100% the way it was planned. Get back up, huddle up with your stakeholders, and decide on what needs to be tweaked to reach your goal.

9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 as needed.

10. Don’t accept anything but success.

We have all heard the phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Rome certainly wasn’t perfect, nothing will be. But, ain’t it time we start building?

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