Guest blog written by Michelle Beitzel, K-1 Fusion teacher:
Do we want to change?
CAN we change?
If we can, how much can we change?
Education has once again shifted: integration of more technology and more “testing”. Many people (teachers and parents alike) are sick of it, and are pushing back with a resistance like no other.
“Technology in the classroom is ridiculous. Children spend too much time on devices at home, why bring it into the classroom? What is up with all this testing? Can’t I just teach my students instead of assessing them all the time? When is it going to end?” …....
Secretly, are you one of those teachers who are excited about this change? Do you see technology as a tool to integrate more rigor into your lessons, and assessments to drive your instruction? You are not alone, but you have to step out of the shadows, and decide to take charge of the direction education is headed around you. Yes, you could continue to do this in your little world of your own classroom, but what happens when your children leave your class? Are they going to be getting the best education they can down the hall? Do we quit caring about their education once they walk out of our door? I don’t think so!
I too have been there; frustrated that others around me were not willing to embrace a new way of teaching and learning. It can be easier just to hide within the walls of our classrooms, and not worry about what is happening around us. When frustration has set in, you are no longer able to give your children your best. Instead, we are spending our energy on not being happy, and we should love what we do. This was me a few years ago. Due to Reduction in Force, I was moved from a position I did love to a different building with a whole new attitude - “We like what we do and the way we do it, so don’t ask us to do anything else.” This wasn’t what I wanted, who does? What is to be your message to the world, was this to be my message?
Then something began to happen on the corner of 199 State Street! It was transforming from a place in which I wanted to flee from, to a place in which I
I KNEW I BELONGED! This building had been held tight in it’s predecessors’ arms and protected from change and uncertainty, as was I. But gradually the shield began to come down for not only the building, but for myself as well. I was encouraged to reflect on my strengths and to refine my teaching and allowed to think outside of the box! I can’t pinpoint when it happened, or how it actually happened, but it happened! It happened because someone believed in me, pointed me in the right direction, and waited for me to change my mind and jump! As teaching has evolved, there are really only two things that we can do: 1- fight it forever and be miserable OR 2- JUMP! Jump in and make it yours! I chose to JUMP! Will you?
By jumping in, I had to find ways to critically analyze where we were heading, advocating for change, facilitating the change, and monitoring how we were doing. No longer was I the little wallflower cowering in the corner. I went from almost missing MY opportunity to being a part of something, to actually helping shape this little building on the corner of 199 State Street. I was inspired to blaze ahead, and thrived to be ME, whatever I decided to make of myself, and not let the FEAR of change and uncertainty hold me back!
Now it is your turn, decide today to change your mind: BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD, and be that someone to believe in others, point them in the right direction, and wait for them to change their mind and jump, too!
Follow Mrs. Beitzel on twitter: @beitzelmichelle