When I got my first teaching job, I was so excited. I was just a reading interventionist for kindergarten, but to me it was just as good as a teaching job. Why? Because I would be there to help students learn. That was why I went to school for 5 years to be a teacher. But after my first day of touring the school and meeting the principal, my attitude changed.
That first day I was sharing my excitement for finding new ideas for the kids and the response I got back was, “We already have ideas. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.”
Talk about soul crushing.
Here I was, excited to find new methods to help my kids learn and that is the response I get back. If that is the message you are giving out as an administrator, why would your teachers want to try new things with that attitude floating about? There are always new ways of doing things and just maybe those ways of teaching might be more effective. Should we really teach reading the same way we did 50 years ago? When our world is not the same place? I don’t think so.
Innovation is happening in our world at a rapid rate. For companies, it’s either being innovative or going out of business. George Couros talks about Blockbuster…do you remember them? They did not take the route of innovation and they are no longer around. Since there is much more competition in the market place, companies have to find new ways to out shine others so consumers will shop at theirs instead.
Do we want to be the blockbuster of education? Do we want to behind and not prepare our students for a world of innovation?
I don’t think so.
Finding new ways of doing things only helps our kids learn and spark creativity in them. Not only does it spark creativity in them but it does you as well. When you do the same thing year after year, it gets boring. You become stuck in a rut with little excitement. But when you find a new way of doing something, your attitude changes and that change brings out a light to share with your students – a light of passion and creativity.
Remember, innovation does not have to be some big drastic change. We can still do things we like that we’ve done for a long time. When I was teaching, I would talk to the kids about small changes I was thinking about doing. Sometimes it was just rearranging the room. The next day they would come in and it would be different.
To me, innovation is all about change and change to help things move forward. Because after all, time is moving forward, shouldn’t we?