Let me start at the beginning. My first year of teaching was a dream come true. I was at this amazing little school, with so much heart it oozed out of the building. The kids, the staff, the community - everyone worked hard to pour their efforts into that building. It was pretty magical. Granted, I don't remember a lot of that year because I was so tired and drowning in work that I think all the 'not-so-great' parts have been wiped from my memory. I had a six-month contract that eventually got extended to the end of June. It looked like I was going to be able to keep my assignment at this school too....but as we know, life sometimes has different plans.
I was devestated to learn I was not staying on at this school. I actually had no idea where I was going - I was in limbo. Eventually, I got wind of a position at a rural school. I interviewed and was offered a position. I was excited to have a job, but not so excited to be leaving MY school. Isn't it funny that after one year, I felt that my first school was MY school? Teachers are habitual, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. I ended up starting at this brand new rural school the following September, but it wouldn't be until January/February of that school year that I finally stopped mourning the loss of my last assignment and began really owning my new one. This is where things really took off for me.
I realized the endless potential of my students and myself when I stopped aching for the past and began to dream big. I owe a lot to the students I taught at my rural school. Specifically, my first homeroom class. They were so eager to hop on the Weber train that we accomplished so much together. Small schools really are amazing. Want to start a social justice club? Sure Mrs. Weber! Want to start a flipped learning project? Sure Mrs. Weber. Want to go camping/hiking in Grand Cache? Sure Mrs. Weber. Want to plant a field of donated wheat to build a school in Africa? Sure Mrs. Weber. The students allowed me to be the teacher I had always wanted to be. On top of that, the administration challenged and supported me in a way that only new teachers could hope for. I know with 100% confidence that I am the teacher I am because of WHERE I was for the last four years. I am grateful.
So you might be wondering why I started with a long drawn out story of my illustrious and long (haha!) teaching career thus far? Well, I just so happened to receive a new teaching assignment for next year at a new school. Initially, my inner teacher-ness screamed out in agony at the idea of starting at the beginning again with new curriculums, staff, and students. I think as teachers, we have this change-phobia because hey, teaching is A LOT of work! However, as I've had some time to mull this new project over in my mind, I find myself day dreaming about how fun this change could be. I'm starting to see my new curriculum everywhere I look. I get butterflies when I think about walking into my new school. Change is exciting. Scary. But exciting.
Teachers, in my experience, are not fond of change. Resisting it at pretty much every turn and in every form - technology, pedagogy, curriculum. Change is always something to be weary of. I know that time and time again at staff meetings or PD days we would be faced with a 'new' idea. Cue the grumbling, eye rolls, and the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentality. Teachers are amazing. At so many things. But adapting is not one of our professional strong suits. Despite change being loathed in schools and classrooms, we need it. Students need it.
Change is the only way we can attempt to stay relevant to our students. They are different learners so we much be different teachers. If they can find all of the answers on Google, why should they show up and listen to what I have to say? How can schools stay relevant in a world that is rapidly adapting and changing every single day? I don't just mean technological changes either. I think sometimes change is automatically linked with the addition of technology and I am increasingly convinced that that equation is actually a false promise of change in the classroom. Technological advancements in your classroom are great, but true change should be able to happen without an iPad in the hands of kids. Change forces us to be be better educators because we have to begin again and become learners alongside our students. Alberta Educations model for 21st century learning is a great basis from which to begin this metamorphosis as an educator or to carry with you for reassurance when change feels chaotic. You may not have all the answers, but that is okay. You may not feel totally in control, but that is okay. Change is good for us and good for our students.
As I begin diving into new curriculum and starting my new journey this fall, I want to remember how change MADE me who I am. Once I stopped aching for the past, I was able to grow exponentially and see the potential of what was in front of me. I appreciate change in a way that I used to fear it. Education requires us (educators) to change so that our students can ultimately change the world by creating and seeing potential of what is in front of them. Isn't that what we are hoping we can accomplish? For our students to BE the change?
Mrs. Katherine (Kate) Weber