As we start the new school year, it’s worth remembering some points from Robert Evans’ The Human Side of School Change.
1. American society has changed more quickly in the past two generations than ever before, and that change is accelerating. .
2. It’s natural for people to say they want to change, but then they have trouble actually implementing it because it’s so difficult.
3. When we change, we often feel a “sense of bereavement” over what has been lost. If we have to change our teaching style, it’s natural for us to feel that a part of the way we used to teach has been devalued. Change challenges our competence. We naturally want to cling to what we know.
4. Change also creates confusion. The benefits of clarity are replaced with the unknown, which creates misunderstanding and apprehension.
5. Change causes conflict. As tension rises among passionate professionals, friction can be created between individuals and groups; and between teachers and administrators.
6. Too often, we seek the value of change in other people. When others change we often consider the change to be a positive thing; however, when we are forced to change, we often view it as a negative thing. Evans writes, “We often make the case for innovation --- on the part of someone else.”
7. Evans also writes that people must find their own meaning in change in order for that change to be effective.
Greatness is a journey, not a destination. Let’s have fun, help each other, and work each day to be just a little bit better than the day before.