Consistency When Implementing Change

Article by Katie Currens

When it comes time to implement change, more times than not it is met with great trepidation, sometimes even downright displeasure. So why is that? What has happened that causes us to bristle at the idea of change? Let’s explore the reasons and how we can change that feeling!

It’s going to go away.

This is actually quite an accurate statement because yes, at some point, the latest change initiative will go away. Yet when it does it will be replaced with something based on new learning and current best practices. Many programs have been researched and developed around common trends and student needs. As the times change, we also must adjust. Much like the program before the current one went away, this too will eventually go. So let’s embrace it and focus on how we can make this current plan the best for our students. Working with implementation coaches is often the best way to ensure a smooth transition between curricula.

It’s going to change.

I certainly hope so! At some point practices need to change. There may be a full implementation of a new curriculum and the first year expectation may be that you are to fully comply with all components. Will it be a lot? Absolutely, because any change is difficult! However, as time goes on there will be reflections on what is working from the curriculum and what may need to be modified. When a change has been implemented and you are asked to adjust, remember that’s it’s not because someone dropped the ball in the beginning. It’s more likely because someone has been listening to feedback and looking at data that supports the need for change.

What we’re doing works.

Does it? If you have data to support that notion then I can understand the concern. However, there is also likely data beyond your classroom that supports a reason for the change. Sometimes as standards are updated there is also a need to make a change to fill those holes. Many times we aren’t even aware there are holes because the previous curriculum may not have even addressed it.

I only have a few years/months/weeks left and don’t want to learn something new.

It’s almost uncomfortable to write this, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentiment. It’s a reality. I think we have all had something occur personally or professionally where we have not allowed ourselves to fully immerse in the experience because we know it’s not going to make a difference on our life beyond that moment. I went on a trip where everyone was skydiving, but I opted out because I felt there was no value to me in putting myself in that position. However, in our profession we must think about the implications beyond ourselves. Our role in education is not about us. It’s about educating others, and if we allow ourselves to quit on our students then we’ve essentially told them they aren’t worth it. I don’t think anyone would ever say that, but when we refuse to comply with change because we don’t want to do something, we make a conscious decision to not provide our students with an opportunity they deserve.

Over time change is inevitable. Sometimes it happens more often than we may be comfortable with, but there is often a logical explanation. Whether the change is due to shifts in standards, curriculum, financial needs, or student data we need to understand that there is a reason. Don’t hesitate to get involved in the conversations if or when your district asks for input. Likewise, if you approach the decision-makers with questions they will often be more than happy to have a professional discourse around the decision. I always enjoy asking my administrators what data led to the decision and how I can support them with ongoing conversations once the implementation takes place. Working together as professionals will make the change much easier.

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