Teach Tip Tuesday: Working through Change

A few weeks ago I eluded to a number of posts that were going to address how I deal with change.

For those of you that are first time readers, in 2019 & 2020 Queensland senior teachers are reinventing their previous resources to implement a new curriculum beginning 2019. Every subject has a change of syllabus and many will now have external exams as the final assessment item in year 12.

For my subject area, currently mathematics this means significant changes to way that we assess, mark and also to the content that we teach in some subjects.

As an experienced teacher I have found this change challenging and I’m sure many others are too.

Whether your change this year is a major curriculum one like mine or something else hopefully today’s tips can help you come through the change positively.

1. Ask questions

Asking questions is the only way that you find out something that you don’t know or are unsure of. Don’t wait for your up line to work out that there is something that you need clarification on or you simply don’t know.

When you don’t find the answers you are looking for ask questions somewhere else.

2. Form strong networks

Strong networks during a change can be a welcome life line. A network offers you the opportunity to bounce ideas with colleagues, share resources, share assessments, moderate, cross mark and commiserate together.

Networks also provide another avenue to ask questions when you aren’t getting the detail you would like from your up line.

3. Decide what matters

When a big change is in its first years it can be tempting to go in “horns and all”, but it is important to remember that you only have so much time and you don’t want to burn yourself out.

Make a decision about what is important in your first year of implementation. This might be to have a topic test every 3 weeks or producing a video on the new topics that students haven’t encountered before. Just don’t try to do it all, you can build your resources over the next few years.

4. Be a team

Where possible form a team and use it. Allocate tasks to spread the workload between yourselves. Meet regularly to discuss progress and common issues and how you are tackling them.

5. Be flexible for more change

The first implementation year of anything can be rough and you need to be flexible enough to ride it out. At the end of each aspect you will reflect on how your implementation went and make changes accordingly.

And don’t forget those above you will be doing the same and thus you need to be ready to account any outside changes that aim to improve the implementation further.

Overall in a new change be patient and be mindful that you can’t do everything and that you need to look after yourself throughout the implementation period. Make decisions based on the information that you have at the time and make changes when you have to. Don’t kick yourself when things don’t go right because you can’t change it, instead think “Where to from here?”

Goodluck with your change/s this year and feel free to share your progress or questions on our Facebook page or in the comments below.

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About cmcaton

I am a Secondary Teacher and Head of Department Mathematics in Education Queensland. I am passionate about the development of pedagogy that engages the 21st century student and love to explore their implementation in the classroom. Disclaimer: The thoughts on this page are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
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