On the long drive home from a curriculum writing project, my colleague and I were discussing change. At the beginning of our conversation we were talking about how hard it is to maintain time efficiency while making changes in our daily habits. Our district email system just changed, so tasks that were previously habits and required very little attention, are now requiring our full attention as we learn the new system, which by the way is going to be awesome! Our conversation then morphed into “how can we affect change in our immediate teaching circles and across the world.” I know, big aspirations!
It doesn’t take a research scientist to tell physical education teachers that our profession includes an enormous spectrum of teaching pedagogies. Just recently on a televised award show one of the recipients said in his acceptance speech, ..”this is for the gym teachers who made fun of the way I run…” When I hear comments like this, it inspires me to work even harder at creating change in our profession.
Along with a multitude of physical education teachers who post on Twitter seemingly infinite information on how to improve teaching practices, blogs like this; designed to spread and encourage best practices, one has to wonder. Why hasn’t change occurred in every physical education program? Why aren’t all physical education teachers getting the message? Or are they?
I believe they are getting the message, and not making the change. This is what keeps me awake at night, WHY NOT?! When there is a better way, research stamped, media pushed, psychologically sound, better way, why not change?
I am brought back to our email system. Our technology director seems to understand people’s reluctance to change. He left our old email system up and working. All email can be conducted on the old system or on the new system, for the next year! Really? One year to change email systems?! This seems excessive! Yet even with this time allowance, as a district we are moaning under the weight of change. Could this be what our colleagues in physical education feel like when we propose turning their programs upside down? So like our technology director, maybe patience is the key? Most definitely not one of my few virtues!
I want to run and shout, shake and rattle the walls of gymnasiums, stomping my feet demanding change! Yes, a big part of my brain may still be stuck in childhood! But when I read about what drives a person to do better, I have yet to read about how a crazy raving lady has inspired anyone to achieve greatness! According to Daniel Pink, whose 2009 book, Drive, explains the secret of performance and satisfaction has three essential elements: Autonomy-directing our own lives, Mastery-desire to get better at something meaningful, and Purpose-work for the good of something larger than ourselves.
In order to be a change agent, kind of sounds like a secret agent, I need to continue to share my passion, offering and receiving ideas to improve. But more than that, I see one of my biggest avenues to create change in myself and others is to develop relationships. These relationships extend beyond in person, to friends through this blog, through twitter and google hangouts. Through these many venues colleagues become friends where we challenge each other’s teaching practices and pedagogy. Here’s to my friends (I’m lifting my coffee cup to toast you), old and new, thanks for challenging me, encouraging me to take risks, and make change! May we make the world a better place by sharing our passion for quality physical education!