Dave and I have begun to go to a new church. I was raised as a cradle Episcopalian, until I wasn't (parents quit going to church, parents divorced, etc.), and then I became quite the eclectic church-goer. My dear friend, Christie, would ask me to come with her to her Lutheran church several times in middle school and early high school. Another Kristie friend took me with her to her Baptist church and got me into a youth group. My dear friend, Tracey, taught me a bit about Judaism, and then along came Liz, whose family was most decidedly and unwaveringly Episcopalian. I began going to church with them (which I secretly loved mostly for the donuts and the trip to La Posada Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio after church most every Sunday). But I also got involved----in Altar Guild, in getting to understand the liturgy, and finally by going through Confirmation. Later in life, I joined the Episcopal Church in Niceville, Floriida. I served as a youth group leader for 8 years; I served on the vestry; I sang in the choir; I sang solos for weddings, funerals, and services; I served on the Search Committee for a new priest; I served as a reader. Let's just say I was involved. Fast forward to today----a time very different in the Episcopal church. Things are definitely different in the small church Dave and I attend from the bigger Episcopal churches I grew up in. When we were in church yesterday, I began noting (silently, mostly, although Dave did shush me once or twice when I asked him if he had noticed the same things) differences: here, there are no kneelers. WHAT??! How can one get on their knees to pray and to confess one's sins if there are no kneelers? (I did it after communion yesterday----knelt right down on the tile floor and my knees haven't forgiven me since). I noticed that people don't tend to bow when the cross is brought in during the processional. I noticed that the Bible is not brought to the center of the congregation where the Gospel "should be" read. I then began to notice that I was noticing the things I thought were wrong or different from the way "these people" do things. I almost couldn't stifle my giggle, as I heard Reverend Debra say, "When our hearts are open, this is how we are transformed." Oh crap. Now I have to say a confession for being snitty, but wait....there is not a kneeler on which to do my confession. They actually stand (*shock*) to say the Confession of Sins.
I started thinking of all the changes that happen in our world and how we react to them. As an educator, first, my examples are mostly about education. As I travel the world talking to people about new ways of looking at changes in education, some people simply are going to be resistant to change. Everett M Rogers, in 1962, wrote about the stages of adopting some new idea. The stances were:
But I also saw this diagram about change that I really liked about responding to change that makes a bunch of sense to me.
I see this time and time again around the world. There are people who are ready to embrace a new system of teacher observation and evaluation ("The one we used before simply did nothing to help the teachers grow" is what I heard the other day) and others who say, "If the wheels weren't falling off of it yet, why are we changing?" If we don't have a good answer to this question, we are in trouble. Luckily, we do. The point is that change can propel each one of us in a new and different direction that makes us think, if nothing else, about the way we were doing things before. If I, for example, have always taught my workshops in tables of four and I am all of a sudden confronted with a U-shaped table formation, can I make it work? Of course! And, often, that new formation gives me and the participants a new perspective on ways of learning and doing.
But what of new technology? So many evaluation/observation systems are now coming part and parcel with invitations to put those observations and evaluations into an electronic platform. What happens with the observers and teachers who say, "Using paper and pencil has always worked for me. I don't want to change" or "The chalkboard was fine, thank you. I don't need a Smartboard in my class". But what if....just what if....that technology could make your job easier? Would you still draw a line in the sand and say "This, I will not do"? As for the observer, I say, "If the district is using a technology platform and you are still collecting evidence the paper and pencil mode, you are causing yourself double work, as it still needs to be entered into the electronic system." As for the teacher who says, 'I don't want a Smartboard," I say, "What if the use of the Smartboard could keep your students cognitively engaged in ways they never had been able to before?" Wouldn't that make your life easier, in terms of behavior management, etc?
I admit that when Facebook updates something, I sigh a semi-heavy sigh and ask to myself (because no one else cares), "Why couldn't they just leave it alone?" But technology is changing faster than I change my toothbrush or my sheets. Why not roll with it and perhaps learn a little something new?
On that note, I am preparing for the arrival of my 86-year old dad in a couple of weeks, who asks me (every single time we are together), "Now, how does this Facebook thing work again?" Dave suggests it might be like teaching a pig to use a stopwatch. Not happening. That's okay. I will adapt and keep my mind open to new possibilities. I hope you do, too!!