Teachers need strategies in place to help them adjust to change
- Veteran teacher and administrator Ben Johnson writes for Edutopia on weathering the “storms” of education, such as shifting student demographics and changes to courses and curriculum.
- One of the biggest strategies for dealing with changes is communicating with others effectively, whether it be talking with students and parents to learn more about demographic changes or asking co-workers for help in finding resources to meet new challenges.
- Another important strategy for dealing with change is to be willing to adopt a beginner’s mindset and “accept the challenge with a fresh perspective and enthusiasm.”
There was a time when a teacher could reuse the same lessons plans for years at a time and only the faces before him or her would change. However, with new technologies in the classroom and new mandated changes in curriculum and reporting, teachers today have to be more adaptable than ever before.
This situation has created new challenges for administrators. In the past, one of their biggest challenges was dealing with beginning teachers who are inexperienced and need additional supports. Now, veteran teachers also present challenges to administrators in that they are resistant to changes to teaching methods and curriculum.
School administrators and instructional coaches need to be sensitive to veteran teachers as they make sweeping changes to their school curriculum, reporting methods or culture. For many veteran teachers, these changes mean more work, removal from their comfort zones, and an unintended implication that their previous methods of instruction were not good enough. However, these teachers can be converted from resistant teachers to resilient teachers as they are empowered as teacher leaders, Another strategy that can help is for administrators to help teachers realize that they need to model adaptability for their students. If the world is changing for teachers, it is changing for students, too.