Be the change, reflection

I Get So Sick Of Being the Change

Sometimes I get sick of being the change, of leading the charge, of paving the way.  I get sick of all the bumps and bruises from trying something new, from being honest and sharing it with whomever will read.  I get sick of having to defend Twitter as something more than conceitedness or hobnobbing with people “that aren’t really my friends ”  I get tired of explaining again why I don’t take recess, why I have a hard time bribing kids, and why grades – whether A’s or 4’s – really don’t belong in education.

I get so tired that I make myself believe that perhaps if I shut my mouth the path would get easier.  That if I stopped blogging about it all perhaps no one would notice and I could just do my things, my way.  That perhaps if I just swallowed a big dose of reality and learned that what is happening now in education is what will be for years to come and I better just get used to it, then my life would be easier.

But then I am told to share my story.  A friendly stranger ask me why.  Schools ask me to help them out as they struggle with the same things I do and I regain my faith in the change and being the change.  I knew this path wouldn’t be easy.  I knew this path would sometimes double back, twist and turn on itself, and lose me.  Yet, I follow it because I see where the path leads; to change, the right kind.  The kind many are hoping will come.  I have to keep believing and I have to share my stories so that others will know it is ok to share theirs.

Clarification:  This post is more a comment on trying to change how education is done in general, rather than people around me.  I think it is tough for anyone out there trying to change the massive politically motivated education policy machine and that is what I was trying to address here.

image from icanread


11 thoughts on “I Get So Sick Of Being the Change”

  1. As a teacher-in-training I am inspired by your blog and others like it. We are being trained to embrace change as well as to be a force for change. The system is so broken, but the students need us more than ever. We all have to "keep on keeping on" for them! Your example is much appreciated as I embark into this rewarding field which is so much more complicated and challenging than I anticipated, but so worth it!!

  2. Be the change you want to see in others. It is tiring but we must continue to be a voice & continue the movement. Soon many will share your view and will be part of the movement too. This kind of change does not happen over night. However I am convinced passionate student-learning centered voices like yours will be the norm rather than the exception. Your voice and work matter! Thank you!! I am inspired by the honest & passionate voice you display in your posts. Your views have helped shape my thinking & it is this same message I share with my students. Thank you!! Keep sharing! Hugh@hughtheteacherSurrey, BC

  3. Hello! Came across your post via a link on Twitter… as I read it I was reminded of Margaret Wheatley's book Perseverance, and this line from it:"Every day I have to make a choice not to give up. Non-profit CEO"Thank you for facing this choice everyday, and for choosing not to give up. The world needs people like you who are 'walking-out' of the existing system, experimenting to create something new.

  4. Thank you for your comments and reading this post. Pontus – I am so glad that we have connected. Thank you for saying my work inspires, I just put it all out there and hope that it will serve as a reminder myself to stay true to my goal; that it is all about the kids!Amy – You have picked a challenging yet incredible life ahead. I wish I had been as connected as you are now when I had started teaching.Hugh – Many kind words in your post, thank you. I was aksed the other day if I have helped anyone change in my district and I don't think I have but I know that I have helped others outside of it. sometimes we are not aware of the waves our small pebbles create, I am thankful for our connection as well.Amanda – I loved the saying, I make that choice every day and every night I am glad I did. When I see the kids tell me what they were excited about that day or actually want me to come and be their teacher, I know that I must be on to something, even if others think I am crazy.

  5. Hey Pernille, as someone who has observed you from afar over the past 3+ years, I am going to give you a little push. As you know, I truly admire what you are doing and trying to do in the classroom, particularly around student motivation. I really believe that the majority of the pushback you receive is not because of what you are doing but more about how people feel when they read what you are doing. If people read your story and feel that you are telling them what they are doing is wrong or "less" than what you are doing then the natural thing for people to do is defend and sometimes even attack as they will react rather than respond/reflect. People in my PLN have helped me to realize that it is about gentle nudges… when we share the message and people feel they are wrong, we end up possibly alienating the people who we feel need to reflect the most.I often wonder why Daniel Pink's message in Drive is so much better received than Alfie Kohn's message in Punished By Rewards. I think the main reason is that people do not feel like bad employers, parents, teachers after they read Pink – but most would reflect on what they currently do. After reading Kohn, some will feel like they are being yelled at or participating in "education malpractice" and stop reading – and his message is lost. So although they both reference Deci and Ryan and both have similar messages – it is HOW this message is shared. Kohn gets huge pushback while Pink gets significantly less.My push is to encourage you to keep doing the amazing work you are doing in the classroom but reflect on HOW you are sharing the stories of learning in your classroom. Thanks for all you do for kids!!!

  6. Hmmmm…You know what? It does suck. It is painful. And I think that many times when people read a post like this(is there more than this one?)they will often leave the comments that you expect. You have inspired me…Keep on fighting…You are making a difference…But those comments do not eliminate the bruises received in fighting for change. They might provide a shot of energy, but they do not hide the scars.I have repeatedly thought about ending tweeting, and placing my blog on a long sabbatical. Just settle into accepting what is, and giving admins and parents what they expect instead of what the kids deserve. I am always very close to making my next post my last…because as far as I can tell, it just doesn't matter. Nothing around me has changed since I have started teaching a long, long, time ago. I could easily enjoy coming home each evening and settling in with the kids in front of the fire knowing that all my worksheets have been copied, and my multiple choice test from the teacher's book is ready. That would be easy…and I would be happy…I think. But Pernille…we both probably came into the profession hoping we could change the world by the end of our first year…and quickly realized that success might only be measured by changing one life each year. I realized that the difference I make in my kids'lives will probably never be seen by me as they go on and create the future years after they have left my side. I learned that the difference I make cannot be seen. I just had to have faith. There is one person in my life who is responsible for me being a teacher and they don't know it. There is another who is directly responsible for the type of teacher I am and they don't know it. Am I that person to someone? Are you? Does it suck "being the change" only because we can't see the change we are responsible for? Many people were arrested for sitting on a bus before Rosa Parks. In every battle there are those on the front lines that get shot down first so that the troops following can get one step closer. I have taken many bullets on one particular change in my district, and just this year someone else proposed the change and it happened. At first I was angry, I looked at my scars and thought they were in vain…but slowly I am realizing that because of my scars someone else was able to storm the fort unscathed. Your blog does not “change” me, but it has always served as a reminder that I am charging the fort with people at my side, and while we might not make make it in…hopefully those that come after us will.

  7. I am in the same spot too . . . I call it my identity crisis. It's hard to try things on your own, to look at things from a different perspective. It leads to frustration quite often.I feel like the direction you are going is focused/consistent and that can only lead to success for you and your students.Keep on keepin on!

  8. Chris, thank you for the reminder again, you said that to me last year and I have made it a goal of mine. I agree that it is not just the message that gets us "beat up" but the way we approach other people. I have made a conscious decision since your advice to not bulldoze or chastise or say this is the right way, other than that it is the right way for me. I hope you have noticed that.Dear anonymous, you leave a courageous comment. I agree, I did not write this post for people to pat me on the back but rather as a reminder to myself of why I do it when my feelings get hurt or the tears come. This year has been surprisingly "easy" and part of me thinks it is because others around me are more used to how I teach and know that I believe in finding the way that works for you. You are so right that I entered teaching thinking I would save the world and now teach with a much more somber thought of just trying to make a difference in a kid's life. I may not be able to change the whole world but hopefully I can create a classroom that is safe, curiosity centered and welcoming to others that may have different opinions.

  9. I can only imagine the stress you go through. Being an innovator of sorts is stressful in any category. The constant scrutiny, and disappointments. You should know that there is a whole generation of teachers both current and upcoming that are behind the technology enhanced learning. I never really liked the idea until I took EDM310. I admit I was a little closed minded. But I now know that technology is probably the best thing for the future of education. Good luck with everything, and keep up the hard work! -Heather Perrin

  10. All I can say is that you must be doing something right. As a recent follower of your blog and twitter, it is easy to see that you are here to lead. To lead those around you, to influence those thousands of miles away, to be the one to step out when others don't. Thank you for being willing.

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