Carolism #5: Embrace change. Always.
I couldn’t possibly write a Carolism without addressing the importance of change. I talk about this a lot when I educate teachers. By nature, we hate change. We are creatures of habit and set in our ways. But change is a good thing and we have to learn to start embracing it. Change is what gave us freedom. Change is how elections are won. Change is why your kids will have more than you did. Change is the new black!
■ Cell phones. It’s time we started saying “yes” to cell phones. I have an entire blog post about cell phones in the classroom, so I’m not going to go deeper into it, but I will say it’s the number one hesitation I see teachers having today. Change it now. You can’t be stubborn forever. One of these days you’ll have to switch on that light switch to light a room instead of using a candle.
■ Tablets/laptops. Note taking can be done electronically. Most students can type faster than they can write. Allowing laptops and tablets is something many teachers are doing, but many aren’t. I know you’re thinking they’re on the internet—but as a teacher it’s up to you to set those boundaries. Walk your classroom and make sure they’re on task.
■ Power Point. We have the luxury of skipping the blackboard, white board and overhead. We get to use a Power Point presentation! That means no more long, boring paragraphs. Power Point presentations can use color, pictures and video—so why in the world are we filling our slides with boring textbook quotes? Our students have a textbook. Use your Power Point to coincide with your content, not repeat it! You might be used to using it the same way you did your overhead charts. Stop it. Photos and video should be the bulk of your slide content.
■ Lectures. Get rid of your lecture classes. They’re not working. They actually never did, we just didn’t know any better. Classes should be animated, fun and full of student participation. If you’re the only voice that’s heard in that classroom, then no wonder kids are showing up late. You want to bring excitement? You want test scores to go up? Quit the lecture-style teaching.
Change is the only way you’ll reach the present and future generations. Let your students teach you something, like maybe a new app that would helpful to organization. Make them feel valuable. You don’t have to have it all figured out. I learn from my students every day. That doesn’t make me a poor teacher. It makes me approachable and it gives students value. Don’t ever underestimate the power of an educator!