Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Change is...

I've spent sometime today contemplating "change". I decided to type "change is" into a Google search to see what insight auto-fill might provide for me.

Change is...
  • certain
  • gonna come
  • inevitable
  • the only constant
  • hard
  • good

There have been many changes I've experienced in my life: moving from one home to another, watching marriages (and divorces) in my family, deaths...births, new jobs, new relationships, new cars, friends have come and gone (and some came back). Change happens!

I almost freaked out with a change I learned about earlier today. I received an e-mail job posting for a coaching job at my school; the job is a position held for the last seven years by a teacher in my department whom I respect very much. I thought "NO...he can't be leaving!" Within about 30 minutes I learned that he was just quitting the coaching position and would still be teaching with us...WHEW!

A big change in my professional life this school year was the redesigned curriculum framework for AP United States History (APUSH). I've known about this coming change for several years; it was originally announced in 2006 or 2007 and has gone through an extensive process of work and revision along with the process of reformatting the end of course AP exam my students take for potential college credit. I've articulated in other settings, blog posts, personal conversations, etc., how much I support this redesigned APUSH. But that doesn't mean the change has been without struggle. I've had to reconsider how I teach various historical thinking skills and essay writing within my classroom. Couple the struggle of working with what I believe is a positive change with the subsequent attacks on that very change by our state legislature in Oklahoma...the nature of the change demanded by the proposed legislation would have had Oklahoma dumping the College Board's APUSH, creating our own "APUSH-like" course, creating our own "APUSH-like" test, and then twiddling our thumbs as NO COLLEGE ANYWHERE would award credit or advanced standing for this nonsensical change...I'm SO GLAD that Representative Fisher's and Senator Breechen's respective bills ultimately went nowhere significant (I'm still disappointed in some members of the House Common Education Committee).

The spring semester of 2008 saw me make a decision to embrace a change in my career: to leave Moore High School after 8 years and join the land of SaberCats over at the brand new Southmoore for the next fall. To give up my HUGE classroom and its semi-circled tiered floor, its TONS of storage, and its office with a couch in exchange for a smaller, much smaller, classroom in a new building. Would the changes be worth it? Have the changes been worth it? Unequivocally...YES! I don't regret this set of changes in the slightest.

We Southmoore SaberCats are in the midst of more change as we transition from the end of year seven to the beginning of year eight. Roy Smith, our founding principal, elected to retire at the conclusion of this year. Thus, we have a change in leadership. When Mr. Smith announced his retirement in April there was lots of buzz in the school (heck, in the WHOLE district) as to who would replace him. Would the new person bring TONS of change? How would the new person fit in? Would we like him? Would it even be a "him"? Would he or she be someone who already worked in the district or be an "outsider"? Lots of questions in preparation for the impending change.

While the new principal for Southmoore was named in mid May and while I had a brief e-mail exchange with him before the end of the school year, today was the first opportunity that I had to meet Danny Reed. He knew that as soon as the school year was over I was off to Louisville to score the essays written by students for this year's APUSH exam. So we decided to go have lunch today to visit and get to know each other [insert the "brown-noser" accusations from colleagues here, haha].

While I am sad to see Mr. Smith go, after today's lunch I am excited about Mr. Reed's arrival. Yes...changes are coming. But I don't fear these changes and I don't think there will be extreme changes immediately (if ever). I have the feeling that Mr. Reed wants to get a feel for who we are as SaberCats and learn about the great things we've been doing. He will then explore the best opportunities to build on our successes and guide us in taking them to a new level.

  • Update, June 10: At our lunch I learned that Mr. Reed is fluent in Spanish and we visited about what an asset this would be with our changing community demographics. Today I got to see this in action while Mr. Reed was visiting with one our summer custodians. I was impressed!! Let's just say I am uber excited for the future here at Southmoore.

Will these changes make everyone happy? Surely not. Will all of the changes make me 100% happy? Doubtful. But change is coming. The only thing I can control is my response to these changes. I choose to be supportive and embracing of the coming change in all ways that I can be. I want to help make Southmoore the best it can be; I'm choosing to embrace growth. I know that our best days are still in the future.

Go Cats! Go Cats! Win! Win! Win!

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