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Change-a word with so many meanings. As educators, change evokes emotion, excitement, fear, yearning, dread. As we begin a new school year, change is inevitable. We are excited to welcome new students to our room, and to meet new families and welcome them to our school. We are excited to start with a blank slate and build our classroom community.

I work in an international school where the word change is part of my job description-or should be. Contracts begin as a two-year commitment and then roll over to a year-to-year contract. That means colleagues (both teachers and administrators) are always coming and going. Students arrive at our school each month as their parents receive their overseas posts. You might think that international educators would be a bit more accustomed to dealing with change, but we are just like everyone else, a bit freaked out!

I have a high tolerance for change-I almost crave it. Some of us do. I think we are rare. But as I observe my colleagues, I see panic dripping down their face: A new math curriculum? New standards? A new assessment? “But I just became comfortable with the old ones,” they think, “why are you doing this to us?” Sometimes too many changes at once are very hard to manage and can lead to what I call “organized chaos” within the system. That’s my school. We have reached organized chaos, and I am anxiously awaiting something to balance us out. But as good educators, we have to ask ourselves an important question: What is driving the change? Is the change being driven to improve student learning? I hope so. That’s a pretty darn good reason! So if, in fact, improvement is the reason for this change, we have to ask ourselves, “what are we so panicked about?” We are learning something new to improve our teaching which will ultimately impact student learning. We are learning too. The times are changing and they are changing quickly! Can we get over our fear of not being the perfect teacher because we are learning something new, just like we ask our students to do every day? What are your thoughts about change?

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