Day 7: Change Is Not Risk Free

-->Change: Are you the first to embrace something new or are you resistant? What gets you excited to try something new in your classroom?

I have always been an early adopter of: new. Sometimes it was because I was asked to, as a leader in my school, to learn so I could turnkey for my colleagues, a common practice. When the CCLS were rolled out the summer of 2009 here in NYC I was sent for a week of training at Columbia University. I remember asking the facilitator what the student facing version of the document was, to which she promptly corrected me --this is a document for teachers, not students. So much has changed in 7 years.

When I made the move to AFSE it was in part because I believe in the mission and goals of our school. We were founded on the idea that CS is indeed for all (before the Mayor/CSNYC and later our President jumped on board). CS skills have become life skills; code a language to learn like any other.  Last spring when I was offered an opportunity to do a day long training with some of my colleagues on using SCRATCH, the platform our 9th graders begin with, I absolutely signed up. It has taken me down a rabbit hole to Wonderland. 

I have been the first in my school to create integrated learning of CS and theatre. (Read a little about my journey here, in The New Yorker) I am working with one of our CS teachers to design mastery rubrics (we are a mastery based school) that could be used by any teacher. I found myself on a conference call with a new company discussing the possibility of using their platform in our CS classes next year. Listening to myself talk about our school, goals and what I do in my class was a bit shocking.  I've come far in 3 years. I was willing and open to new learning and it has served me well. 

Some change has been frustrating and other change, exciting. Usually going with the flow makes for a better experience.  At least for me. I don't always agree with all the change, but that is not the point. We don't always have a say in change. However, as educators, we are models of what it means to be resilient, to learn and to evolve for our students. 

Taking risks has served me well. As Boal said, "Change is not risk free." It's true. Every day we step into our classrooms we take risks, we try new things, we crash or we soar but we always take the risk. It's what leads to change, growth and evolution of our craft.


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