Friday, December 11, 2015

Doing Things DiFfeReNtLy

I love to do things differently. Sometimes it is because I truly believe there is a better way. Sometimes it is to make a point. Mostly, it's because doing things differently keeps me energized and engaged with life. I notice that I do things differently after trying them out in spurts, and then just as I have gotten into a nice rhythm, I depart for something else. Luckily for my husband, he is an exception to this rule. But he will tell you that it is very much a part of who I am. For example, my Starbucks order will be consistent for several months (right now it's a grande blonde roast with a splash of coconut milk + 1 Splenda) and then it completely changes for several months more. My exercise routine, eating habits, leisure activities, and even career will stay consistent for awhile and then suddenly, I seek a change.

In my role as a school district administrator, I notice the same trend. I find that I don't do the same things for too long before I break away to try doing something else. Perhaps, this is why I am able to adapt to new ideas so easily. I anticipate change and welcome it wholeheartedly. I lean into the fear of the unknown and accept that it will be different for awhile. Until it's not anymore. 

When I work with teachers, I notice that they often hold onto something old as we make shifts toward trying something new. It's their security blanket protecting them against something they are not quite sure about.

"I'm excited to teach the new curriculum, but I want to find a place for some of my old lessons, too."

"I want to start using Google Docs, but first let me upload all of my old Word documents into Google Drive." 

"I want to begin implementing standards-based grading into my teaching, but I still plan to give a midterm exam."

Holding on to what we have always done is comfortable and familiar. Even when change is knocking down our door, we hold onto what we know. But somehow, as a community of educators, we need to work on letting go. Just like when you are cleaning out your closet or your email inbox, sometimes you have to just purge much of the old to make room for the new. When we open our minds up to change and let go, we have the freedom to be creative, innovative thinkers. The more we hold on to doing things the same, the harder we find it is to move forward.

So, my challenge to those who are reading this post is to think about what you might start doing differently. As 2015 draws to a close, think about ways to change something about yourself, your work, or your life. Maybe you will find that doing things differently leads to small changes. And small changes, I have come to realize, can make a very big difference.

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