Change is good!
Change. That six letter word that people love to hate. For many, when we enact change, there is pushback. I used to also dislike change and when confronted with change I sometimes put up a wall because I am unsure of what the future holds. I never used to like change. Over the past three years, I have have embraced change and have made quite a few changes in my own teaching while changing my mindset. But whenever I make changes in my teaching, it still can be challenging. Sometimes my natural instinct is to reject the change.
This past week Open House was held at our school. It was once again a great time and I was excited to meet all of my parents. As I was preparing my Prezi for my presentation, I noticed I was still using the same account since 2011 and my past Open House presentations were all saved. I decided to take a glance at my first presentation and what I saw not only gave me a good laugh, it was quite clear that I had a completely different mindset 5 years ago than I currently do. Lets just cut to the chase and take a look at this one wonderful slide…
Yes, you read that correctly. I gave a detention if a student didn’t turn in an assignment but this slide doesn’t even tell how bad it really was. Not only did I give a detention, when the student turned in the assignment I only gave them half credit. If a child didn’t serve their detention within 2 days, they were suspended from school. Typing this now makes me cringe. It was a policy that I enacted and used for a good chunk of the first part of my teaching career. I wanted homework. I wanted compliance. Of course at the time I was doing what I thought was the best and didn’t realize I was striving for compliance. My kids even told me they liked the policy. Kids turned in homework and I was happy but truth be told, it was all about me. It wasn’t about the learning even though I thought it was. I spent more time trying to get compliance with getting homework turned in than probably anything else during these years. I was still considered a great teacher by many but I was a great teacher with bad policies.
I look back at this slide and I shake my head in disbelief. I remembered when colleagues and others tried to tell me they disagreed with my policy. I remember after each passing year I had to defend my policy more and more. I was stubborn and didn’t want to change. Eventually I let the policy go thinking homework would tank. It never did.
Thank goodness that this policy is long gone and I now focus on the learning and not homework. If I had not embraced change, where would I be? Now when change occurs, I embrace it with an open mind as we all should. Is it hard at times? Absolutely but this slide will be a constant reminder of where I am today as a teacher because of change. Change is what has made me a better and what keeps helping me grow.