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Changes Close to Home

Are you sick of change yet?

Or maybe it’s all the talk about change you’re tired of?

I think I’m in that later category, especially when it comes to the watered-down fixes for the huge American problems now being batted around like a badminton shuttlecock by our Congress critters and other self-proclaimed experts on the talking heads channels.

But let’s face it: when it comes to changes, the ones that hit close to home are often far more important.

For exhibit A we have the major reorganization of the department in which I work here in the overly-large school district.

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Of course, part of the change is driven by the budget (several high priced positions were eliminated), but it also incorporates the philosophy of the big boss.

The biggest alteration in the reorg moves the elementary, middle, and high school curriculum groups, each of which were in their own offices, all into the same box on the organizational chart.

The basic goal is to get all of the folks who are supposed to guide instruction in the K12 “four core” areas (language arts, math, science, social studies) to talk to each other regardless of where they fall in the largely artificial grade level divisions into which we divide students.

Which is something I can actually agree with. It remains to be seen if it will make any change to the educational bottom line, student learning.

However, it’s another column on the chart, the one in which our little group landed, that bothers me.

It contains almost everything else – fine arts, PE, career education, adult education, and technology. (instruction for non-English speakers and non-English language instruction gets a third column)

All the pieces that are increasingly seen as “extras” in our standardized test-driven educational world.

Anyway, add in the fact that everyone is trying to make this work while being spread over four or five buildings and you can imagine that this process of rearranging the traditional departmental boxes is causing a lot of uncertainty and stress for many people.

But, strangely, not me. (Well, maybe a little. :-)

On a very personal level, in the near future I will be assuming a different role in this ongoing story (due to a retirement that was going to happen with or without the reorganization), something I’ll certainly be writing about.

This is a change I’m actually looking forward to since lately I’ve been hearing the little voice in the back of my head telling me that’s time for some alterations.

And I’m not sure all the rest of the upheaval going on around me is necessarily a bad thing.

Because I’ve learned from past changes, big and small, those that land close to home are often the ones that offer the greatest opportunities.

[Photo from flickr by 416style.]

3 Comments

  1. Dave

    The catch-all group might not be so bad: if the focus is on the core classes and prepping for standardized tests, then those other classes might have the freedom to actually teach! :)

  2. Debbie

    I am a little surprised technology is in a columm — I would see it as spanning all columns.

  3. Betty

    I have gone through a lot of changes over the past five years. You are right that it is hard when it hits home. One year my principal chose an empty classroom in a pod next to mine for the parent volunteer room. It was one of the worst years ever. Nothing I could say would change his mind. In retirement, I have found a few niches that work for me. Since I still need money (another story), I am still working. I substitute and have also found a job teaching adults in a hospital setting. Blogging is very therapeutic for me, and I have made a lot of new friends. Best of luck for a great school year.

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