Public education is currently experiencing another round of change. The spectrum of change includes new annual staff performance evaluations, new health insurance guidelines, the ever-changing grading formula for schools, which curricular standards should be taught, and what can and cannot be served for lunch in the school cafeteria.
The volume of change causes many of us in public education to feel stressed and overwhelmed. School districts across the state are working diligently to address the changes and new requirements placed upon us by our state and federal governments and their regulatory agencies. Regardless of stress levels or personal views regarding the ongoing changes, educators must rise above them. American author and poet Maya Angelou once said, “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.” Educators cannot control the winds of change; they can only control how they react to them. Teachers and administrators need to remain positive and optimistic, not only for their personal well-being, but more importantly, for their students.
Among the many challenges we have in public education today, is establishing and maintaining a safe, positive and nurturing learning environment where students have the best opportunity to learn. As a principal, it is up to me to set the tone in our building and lead by example. I need to be visible, I need to listen to students and staff members, and most importantly, I need to be positive and enjoy some laughter with others whenever possible. I must also remind myself, as well as others on occasion, to always look at the glass as half full, rather than half empty.
Teachers need to lead their students in a similar way, and they need to make learning fun. To reiterate my point, I came across a quote from motivational speaker Carol Buchner, who said, “Students may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Students will always need positive educators in their life, and that is the one thing that will never change.
Proposed and mandated changes for public education will always be present. It is how we as educators respond to and address those changes that will determine whether or not there will be a positive or negative impact for our students.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.