Change can be Painful

You read a lot about change and the need for schools to rethink and reinvent themselves for the needs of 21st century learners. It’s sometimes frustrating for those of use who really want this change to happen when we feel we have to drag our less eager colleagues along kicking and screaming. It must also be pretty frustrating, threatening, scary, to those who are quite happy with the status quo and are content to leave things just as they are. It’s hard to understand why we need to change what we’ve always done, especially if it’s always worked for us in the past.

One of the nice aspects of the blogosphere is the way it so easily enables one to stumble upon interesting thoughts written by others. It’s especially rewarding when you come across a different thoughts from different places, but that just happen to strike you at the around the same time so that those ideas just bounce off each other, each giving depth to the other. Serendipity I believe it’s called…

So I present these two post grabs for your consideration… the first is from David Weiss. David is a software developer at the Macintosh Business Unit of Microsoft and this post is some advice that his father gave him about change.

  1. I am different. So I need to figure out how others think, because they don’t think like I do.
  2. Learning about change is not changing.
  3. Most people agree that improvement and change is needed, until it means they have to change.
  4. Getting someone to want to change is hard.
  5. The power of the group, has something in it that facilitates change. (Carl Rogers)
  6. Most leaders say, “You need to do this… You need to change… Good luck! See you later.” Instead of, “You can change. I can help.”
  7. It’s important to setup an environment that balances building the person and getting the job done.

At around the same time, I came across these thoughts from Wil Richardson’s blog. Wil was, in turn, quoting others when he wrote…

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

There is little doubt in my mind about the need for some serious change in our approach to the way we help kids learn. Although I see a lot of teachers making some effort to think about the need for this change, I am continually struck by how unwilling some of them are to actually DO something about it. The quote from Darwin really rings true for me… if we don’t embrace the changing nature of our students and the 21st century digital culture in which they are immersed, we run a real risk of becoming irrelevant to the kids we teach.

And yet, I can totally relate to the thoughts from David Weiss’s father, that change is hard, change is painful and people sometimes need love and kindness to get through it. You can’t force change upon people, they will do it when they feel they are ready, but we have to get the message through that the time to do it is right now.

Our world, and our schools, are not static places. They change. Culture changes. Society changes. Technology changes. And whether we like it or not, we have to change with them.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Change can be Painful by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.