I have been thinking about why educational leaders are having such difficulty moving from conversation about change and transformation, to action. I’ve been at many, many retreats and conferences where school leaders speak out in support of change and then return to their schools and continue the same patterns.
If I am someone who believes that we should transform our schools, what do I do? If I try changing things in my own classroom or school, there will probably be resistance and I might get fired.
This is where I see the hangup lies…what actions to take? how to take them? and are we prepared for the consequences?
No question, taking up change is a big risk, no matter whether you are a Superintendent, Principal, Director of Technology, or teacher.
Because it is a risk, we tend to wait for someone else to take the first step.
The inner conversation goes like this for the teacher, “If only the building Principal would show some leadership, things would change.”
For the building Principal it is, “If only the Superintendent showed some leadership, things would change.”
The Superintendent says, “If only the State Education Department showed some leadership, things would change.”
And the state education department? They say, “If only the Fed’s showed some leadership, then things would change.”
The Feds…well this “Tag, you go first conversation”, can go on forever.
It takes courage to stop talking about change and to begin taking action. I won’t sugar coat it, the people who lead transformations don’t always succeed. Sometimes they take some hard knocks for living their convictions (think Martin Luther King and Ghandi). But those who answer the call for change, give the rest of us the courage to stand up. Soon many others stand with us, the current begins to flow and the old is washed away.
Be the change.