As the year creeps closer to an end, I continue to talk to more parents, students, and teachers about leaving. I’ve been asked many times now why I’m going, and my reason continues to be the same, and summarized best with the words, “because change is good.” But not that long ago, when talking to a friend, I started to realize that it’s about more than change.
I happened to be out with a group of teacher friends, and we were having the “leaving discussion.” When I said that, “change is good,” a friend in the group that was assigned a new position for next year, replied with, “Yes, but every time I teach the same grade, I always teach things differently. I’m always changing.” Good point! So this is what I said:
- Over the years, I also taught the same grade for multiple years in a row. I also made changes each year based on student needs and changing curriculum documents. I thought that this change was enough.
- Then I moved from Kindergarten (after 8 years) to Grade 1, and I realized I was wrong. Now that I knew where the Grade 1 students needed to be, I started to reconsider my areas of focus as a Kindergarten teacher.
- And then I taught a 1/2 split for a couple of years, and again, I saw gaps in programming. I realized how my Language and Math programs needed to change.
- That’s when I went up to junior, and I saw new gaps. I realized the need to focus more on reading comprehension skills. I realized that we needed to develop better thinking skills in all subject areas (even for our youngest learners).
- After two years in junior (Grades 5 and 6), I realized that I needed to go back down to primary. I need to start making the changes that I said that I would make, but never had the chance to do so.
- This is when I started to think that for nine years, my experiences have all been at Ancaster Meadow School. This is a great school, with a wonderful staff, fantastic administrators, and amazing parents and students. I’ve been lucky to work with all of them! I know what to expect at Ancaster Meadow in primary, and changing schools and environments, offers me a whole new set of challenges. Challenges are good!
This friend made me realize that my initial response wasn’t enough. Change is good, but big changes — challenging changes — help us learn the most! Whether in our current schools or in new ones, I think that we all need to be pushed outside of our comfort zones. We need to be forced to explore new resources, try new strategies, meet new and different needs, and interact with new people: all of which will help us improve our practices, and ultimately, benefit kids more. What challenging changes have you made recently? What did you learn from these experiences? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Aviva, being in a state of disequilibrium is where learning always is. If you are too comfortable then you may not be learning. Like what you said change is good but it is those challenging changes that make us grow, push us to be better and to reflect.
I moved to Ray Lawson last year and it’s been a really great experience learning and developing a school climate. Before this I knew about climate but developing it has been a great experience. Like you moving down from junior to primary has been a nice change. I was able to hopefully teach some of those skills and holes we see in our junior kids. And of course having a new addition to our family is going be a brand new experience, but I love change and I think it also teaches us to be adaptable and run with whatever life throws at you. Keep on learning and sharing.
Thanks Jonathan! I love that you’re not only willing to change, but also to share about these changes. Showing our students the importance of making these big challenging changes (even if they’re scary) is a great thing! I think that it also helps encourage them to take risks: an essential part to learning for adults and children.
P.S. Congratulations on the new addition to your family! How exciting!