Change in education is inevitable. Throughout their careers, teachers will face a myriad of changes, both inside and outside of the classroom. This valuable professional development resource demonstrates how K-12 teachers can anticipate and respond to change in creative, advantageous ways that can enhance their career satisfaction and effectiveness as professionals. Emphasizing that change is something teachers can understand, manage, become invested in, and even champion, the authors provide practical skills for facing and adjusting to change, whether it is mandated or a personal choice. Offering a wealth of conceptual, reflective, interpersonal, and strategic tools, this guide also includes: reflections from a survey of 100 teachers who share their experiences with change as well as advice and encouragement, inviting educators to learn from each other; a five-step process for initiating and implementing plans for change; research-based strategies for leading change, both in smaller and larger spheres of influence; vivid examples that can be directly applied to personal experience; and, reflective exercises to assist teachers in understanding and approaching change.
This accessible resource is invaluable for both new and experienced teachers. Whether or not change is voluntary, opportunities for professional growth are abundant, leading to improved student learning and greater teacher retention.
Janet L. Stivers is associate professor of special education at Marist College, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, member of the Board of Directors of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, and member of the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteer of America, Dutchess Community Chapter. Stivers frequently present workshops for teams of middle and high school teachers who are collaborating to teach students with special needs in general education classes. She has a PhD in educational psychology and statistics at the State University of New York at Albany and recieved her MA in psychology and counseling from Assumption College. Stivers has been teaching at Marist College since 1980 and has won the Social and Behavioral Sciences Faculty of the Year Award, 2002. Sharon F. Cramer is a distinguished service professor at Buffalo State College, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1985. Her leadership roles include serving as executive director of the SABRE Project (implementation of the Oracle Student Information System) (1999-2004), chairing the Exceptional Education Department (1995-1999), and leadership roles in state and national professional organizations (e.g., president of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, NY Federation of Chapters of the Council for Exceptional Children, publication chair of the Division on Developmental Disabilities). She earned her PhD at New York University in 1984 in human relations and social policy, her master of arts in teaching (MAT) from Harvard University in 1972, and her bachelors of arts degree from Tufts University in 1971. She participated in the Management and Leadership Education (MLE) program at Harvard University in 2001.
Preface Acknowledgments About the Authors Part I. Experiencing Change 1. Introducing the Challenges of Change for Teachers 2. What Changes? Experiencing Change at School and at Home Changes at School New Administration New Teaching Positions New Locations New Colleagues Professional Development Professional Recognition Changes in Life at Home Illness Loss Changes in Relationships and Responsibilities Parenting Connecting Our Professional and Personal Changes to the Change That Matters Most 3. Defining the Dynamics of Change for Teachers Voluntary or Mandated Top-Down or Bottom-Up Incremental or Fundamental Part II. Understanding the Change Process 4. First Encounters With Change Responding to Innovation Innovations in Educational Practices Categorizing Responsiveness to Innovation Understanding Resistance to Change Resistance We Should Resolve Failure to Be Convinced Habit Fear of Loss Fear of Failure Negative Experiences Resistance We Should Respect Pragmatic Concerns Philosophical Disagreements Analyzing One Teacher's Resistance to Change 5. Charting the Stages of Change Teachers' Concerns Evolve During the Change Process Stages of Concern Self Concerns Task Concerns Impact Concerns Change Occurs in Phases An Overview of the Change Process Endings: Recognizing That a Change Is Needed The Neutral Zone: Preparing to Change New Beginnings: Moving Ahead With Change Part III. Implementing Change 6. Using Personal Experiences to Prepare for Professional Changes Drawing on Personal Experiences Four Steps for Starting a Professional Change Initiative Step One: Identify Aspirations Step Two: Inventory Resources Step Three: Link Aspirations and Resources Step Four: Anticipate Obstacles 7. Teacher-Directed Change: Working Within the Classroom Implementing, Evaluating, and Celebrating Self-Directed Change Step One: Aim High But Start Small Step Two: Build a Timeline Step Three: Monitor Both Progress and Outlook Step Four: Celebrate Small Victories Step Five: Shift Strategies to Make Adjustments Step Six: Sustain Commitment Part IV. Leading Change 8. Teacher-Led Change: Expanding Beyond the Classroom Characteristics of Change Leaders Spheres of Influence Curriculum Development Cocurricular and Extracurricular Programming Outreach to Families and the Community Professional Development for Teachers Education Policy 9. Using Classroom-Based Skills to Lead Change Part V. Changing Throughout a Career in Teaching Inspiring Others to Accomplish Change: Mind-Set and Skills Making Use of Teaching Skills to Lead Change Communicate Clearly and Regularly Motivate People to Take Risks and Accept Challenges Be Proactive in Problem Solving Making Use of Teaching Skills to Sustain Change Check on Progress Provide Continuous Assistance Remember What Matters Most 10. Sustaining Career Vitality Through Change The Early Years: Gaining a Sense of Ourselves as Teachers The Middle Years: Making the Transition From Mentee to Mentor The Later Years: Expanding Our Roles Looking to the Future Appendix A. Survey Items and Responses Appendix B. Interview Questions Appendix C. Professional Organizations for Teachers References Index
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