Friday, August 5, 2016

Are our teachers ready for this?

I have invested the last two days with fellow district administrators learning and preparing for the upcoming school year.  Our district is currently experiencing a steep learning curve in many areas.  We are in the midst of implementing a new written curriculum, we have new attendance boundaries, and we are working to increase student engagement through better classroom instruction.

With each bold idea, someone asks, "Are our teachers ready for this?"

A rational question that must be considered.  However, a more important question is, "Do our students deserve this?"

Too often in education, we develop a vision for a specific facet of education.  Bringing that vision to life requires innovation and training.  It requires time and hard work.  It requires change.  Are the teachers ready for it?

Some are and some are not.  Some will love it and run ahead of the pack!  Some will drag their feet and undermine the efforts.  The mindful deliberation to determine if teachers are ready for a change initiative often causes school leaders to back away from fully implementing a worthwhile effort.  Instead, school leaders may choose to slow the change.  They may lower the expectations.  They may not do what they initially wanted to do because of the fears that the opposition from the staff will be too great.

Sometimes, these shifts in implementation make sense.  Sometimes, they do not.  When strategically planning for the implementation of something new, don't shift expectations based on the feet-draggers or the negative Nellies.  Instead, be sure to create your implementation plan for the teachers who will run with it.  Most importantly, continuously ask, "What do our kids deserve right now?"

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