I use to try to change things in education with a sledgehammer. Throw out new ideas and then repeatedly hit people over the head with them again and again, until they finally acquiesced or agreed with me. If people objected, I took it personally, after all, they were rejecting my awesome new thing, which meant they were rejecting me. I cringe at how I approached change.
Now I know that to change education, I have to plant seeds of change. I have to show why this change is a great thing, not just state it is. I have to be a support, an integrator of change, someone who will help and not just judge. Someone who will guide and not just lead.
I now know that change does not have to be painful. Change does not have to be dramatic, nor all or nothing. Change does not have to be major to make a difference. Instead change can be small. Change can be easy. Change can be inclusive, rather than dismissive. An even the smallest change can be step in the right direction. We may not think that people are changing fast enough, but if they are changing at all , there is hope.
So when I am asked how do I get my teammates aboard these new ideas? How do I get my principal to understand the need? How do I get parents to approve? I tell people to start small. To plant a seed of change. To show what change can look like but validate what is also being done. No one wants to genuinely change if they are repeatedly told that what they are doing is wrong. True change has to come from within, from a desire to do something different. The idea can come from someone else, but the drive to do so has to be from within.
So before you give up on changing education, keep fighting. But don’t bring the sledgehammer. Don’t take it personal. Bring nuance, bring compassion, bring ideas and support. Be willing to listen as much as you want to talk. Change is a constant companion, whether we agree with it or not, but it does not have to be destructive. It can be just a small thought that starts a revolution.