AN ERA OF CHANGE IN TEACH­ING

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

MARVIN Y. MER­CADO

Change is teach­ers’ con­stant com­pan­ion. Fo­cus­ing on a few well-cho­sen goals each year can help you pro­tect your pas­sion. First, we must em­brace the con­stancy of change is our con­stant com­pan­ion in ed­u­ca­tion, which have given us high-speed in­ter­net, mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity, and a va­ri­ety of pol­icy shifts— some fairly tu­mul­tuous— around test­ing, stan­dards, and ac­count­abil­ity. The ques­tion is whether or not ed­u­ca­tors can make choices or se­lect strate­gies that seize the ex­cit­ing po­ten­tial of change with­out feel­ing so over­whelmed that we want to leave the field. So for teach­ers and school lead­ers, long-term plan­ning will now be even more chal­leng­ing. Ac­count­abil­ity man­dates and fund­ing are likely to change. En­roll­ment may fluc­tu­ate in unan­tic­i­pated ways. School cli­mate and cul­ture, es­pe­cially in more di­verse com­mu­ni­ties, may re­quire spe­cial at­ten­tion to en­sure that ev­ery stu­dent is safe and sup­ported.

We’ll need to fo­cus our ef­forts on changes that are likely to bring the most pow­er­ful re­sults. I would ar­gue that ed­u­ca­tors fo­cus too much at­ten­tion on best prac­tices and not enough on best con­di­tions.

Mo­ti­va­tion are the key con­cepts to keep in mind as we ap­proach changes in our schools. Our teach­ing will suf­fer if your fo­cus is ex­ces­sively frag­mented. School lead­ers can set the tone and pro­vide the ex­am­ple, but it takes all of us to pre­vent a scat­tered fo­cus in our­selves, our peers, and our schools.

Keep­ing a nar­row fo­cus helps teach­ers stay mo­ti­vated when three con­di­tions are met: au­ton­omy, mastery, and pur­pose. Teach­ers who want to avoid burnout need to make strate­gic choices about man­ag­ing change. They must have some au­ton­omy in their choices, and must be guardians of their own time to ap­proach mastery. And if a teacher doesn’t rec­og­nize or agree with the pur­pose be­hind a change, that change ef­fort is doomed to medi­ocre im­ple­men­ta­tion at best. — oOo—

The au­thor is Teacher II at Si­tio Min­danao Ele­men­tary School, Divi­sion of Pam­panga

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