I love change. I’m always peeking over the fence to see what else is there that might be of interest. I’m not even looking for greener pastures. As a matter of fact, I’m often looking for a broken down barn, because I love fixer uppers. I’m just one of those crazy people that thrives on change.
In this new year of 2020, I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of change and what makes it attractive to me. The only thing I’ve really decided is that change is a whole lot more attractive if I choose it instead of it choosing me.
A Year of Change
This school year, change has chosen me more times than I can actually remember. It started early when we found out that our test scores kept us on the NC list of F schools. All kinds of changes accompanied this announcement. More meetings, more observations, and more PD just to name a few.
I moved into a new role with the North Carolina School Library Media Association (NCSLMA). I knew it was coming, and I really like my new role. But I loved being president and all the challenges that came with it.
A dear friend and colleague passed away unexpectedly over winter break. I picture her standing in my office door serenading me with a sassy litany almost daily. I miss her terribly.
My husband spent half of January in the hospital. Short-term plans were quickly changed, and we’re looking at long-term plans in a different light.
Our district moved many multi-school coaches back into classrooms to replace long-term subs. My school got three of these coaches. I should add that they are all absolutely wonderful. That coupled with their graciousness has made them fabulous additions to school, but the subs they replaced were well-known and long-time friends of our school.
This week, my principal was reassigned to a new school, and Monday, a new principal arrives. Because of my wanderlust, this is only the second time in my career that I haven’t chosen the principal for whom I would work.
Change is definitely more attractive when I choose it instead of it choosing me.
Responding to Change
We talk with students about how to deal with outside influences that invoke change. Words like persistence, resilience, and growth frame these conversations. When change chooses us, we have the amazing opportunity to model persistence, resilience, and growth in real and meaningful ways. Even while using the word opportunity, what I’m really mulling over is obligation. We have an obligation to model the mindset we seek to see in our students.
Growth mindset can’t be something we teach kids and don’t embrace ourselves. We have to live it out in all its pain and glory. What a wonderful opportunity for students to see the myriad options and the choices we make! What better way for them to see the real-time implications of real-life persistence and resilience?
I may not have any choice in the changes that affect my life, but I do get to choose my responses and whether or not I’ll move forward graciously, learn something new, or be dependable. I get to choose to be an example — especially when change chooses me.
Author: Bitsy Griffin
Bitsy Griffin is the school librarian and technology facilitator for Old Town ES in Winston Salem, NC. She has 25+ years experience in elementary, middle, and high schools as a math teacher and librarian. She serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina School Library Media Association and is active in ALA as a Councilor-at-large and AASL Affiliate Assembly as the Region 4 Rep. Find her blog at http://www.bitsygriffin.com