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A Teacher's Guide to Change
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A Teacher's Guide to Change
Understanding, Navigating, and Leading the Process

Edited by:


July 2009 | 176 pages | Corwin

"Coping with change is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of life and certainly critical for successful teaching. This book provides an essential guide to how teachers might successfully address the ongoing and expected change associated with effective teaching."
—Sharon Vaughn, H. E. Hartfelder/Southland Corp Regents Chair
University of Texas

"Perhaps no other job in our society today experiences as much change as classroom teaching. Stivers and Cramer are two experts with tremendous insight and experience in both the theoretical and practical dimensions of personal, organizational, and systemwide change. Heartwarming, insightful stories explore how dozens of teachers overcome the challenges of living and leading through change every day, blended with rock-solid theory and extensive research on how to live through change successfully."
—Chris Edgelow, Founder and President
Sundance Consulting Inc.

Energize your learning community by transforming change into opportunity!

Throughout their careers, teachers will face a myriad of inevitable changes, both inside and outside the classroom. Ideal for use both in professional development settings and as a personal resource, A Teacher's Guide to Change engages K–12 teachers in the process of anticipating and responding to change. Through a step-by-step approach, teachers can learn to prepare for change, which enhances 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 chosen. Offering a wealth of conceptual, reflective, interpersonal, and strategic tools, this guide also includes:

  • Survey results from more than 100 teachers who share not only their experiences with change but also advice and encouragement, inviting educators to learn from each other
  • Reflective exercises to help teachers understand and approach change
  • A five-step process for initiating and implementing plans for change
  • Systematic strategies for leading change, both in smaller and larger spheres of influence
  • Vivid school-based examples that can be directly applied to personal experience

This accessible resource is invaluable for all teachers. Whether or not change is voluntary, opportunities for professional growth are abundant, leading to improved student learning and greater teacher retention.


 
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

"A must-have book for teachers at every stage of their teaching career. Change in schools is inevitable. This book will help teachers deal with change and allow them to do what they do best: provide a great education for students."

Sharon Redfern, Principal
Highland Park Elementary School, Lewistown, MT

"Coping with change is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of life and certainly critical for successful teaching. Stivers and Cramer provide an essential guide to how teachers might successfully address the ongoing and expected change associated with effective teaching."

Sharon Vaughn, H.E.Hartfelder/Southland Corp Regents Chair
University of Texas

"Perhaps no other job in our society today experiences as much change as classroom teaching. Stivers and Cramer are two experts with tremendous insight and experience in both the theoretical and practical dimensions of personal, organizational, and systemwide change. Heartwarming, insightful stories explore how dozens of teachers overcome the challenges of living and leading through change every day, blended with rock-solid theory and extensive research on how to live through change successfully."

Chris Edgelow, Founder and President
Sundance Consulting Inc.

"Teachers must learn to cope with the myriad of changes they experience throughout their career or they will leave the profession. This book gives a step-by-step approach for teachers to think about, plan for, and implement changes in their personal lives, their schools, and in their communities."

Barbara Glaeser, Associate Professor of Special Education
California State University, Fullerton

"How we react to and enact change determines whether we are leaders of our own careers and professional development or merely workers. This book provides the research and information for teachers to embrace change individually or as teacher leaders and teacher mentors. Skip the apple and go for the book!"

Karen Kozy-Landress, Speech/Language Pathologist
Brevard County Schools, Merritt Island, FL

"This text is an outstanding analysis of change that all of us in the education profession face on a daily basis. It is a must-read for every thoughtful teacher concerned with change."

D. Allan Bruner, Science/Math Chair
Colton High School, OR
Key features
  • Vignettes featuring teachers who relate their anxiety and elation over changes and how they were able to adapt
  • A reflection feature interwoven throughout the guide enabling readers to critically think how educators can personally implement change
  • Reproducibles and charts to assist teachers in understanding and implementing change
  • Responses from teachers in the field about obstacles they have faced and the advice or strategies they would offer from their experiences

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1: Introducing the Challenges of Change for Teachers


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