As a career IT person, working in educational institutions for the past decade, I love and embrace change. If I didn’t, given the rapid-fire changes in technology, I would be in the wrong field! However, I have noticed that many people, perhaps even most people, do not like change. They say, “Why change when everything is fine the way it is?”
OK. I get that. But is “fine” all we want? What if change makes things better? Wouldn’t that be, well, better?
I admit, change can be risky. Sometimes change does not make things better. Sometimes an attempt to make a change results in a big, fat failure. But I believe that is ok, and here’s why.
1) We learn from failure. Sure, it may be painful, or embarrassing, or bring on any number of other negative feelings, but still, we learn, and learning is good. (We are educators! We love learning!)
2) Seeing a teacher fail is actually good for students. Why? Because it teaches students that failure happens. And that smart people can fail. And that they can pick up and start again and still be willing to try another change. If that’s not a life lesson, I don’t know what is.
3) Most importantly, the risk of failure is worth it, because there’s an equally excellent chance that change WILL make something better.
I think Steve Jobs was a pretty impressive guy. (Understatement, surely.) He changed the face of music, almost singlehandedly. When he decided he wanted to put music on an iPod, where consumers could buy music, one song at a time, instead of either pirating it through peer-to-peer networks or buying an entire album and ripping that to an mp3 player, he changed the entire music industry. Permanently!
It was a risky prospect, to say the least. The music industry was not wired that way, at all. The entire concept could have tanked. The music industry may be still trying to get its head around the whole upheaval, but for us, the consumers, it has been incredibly beneficial. And it sparked other innovations, like Pandora and Spotify, bringing music lovers even more ways to enjoy music.
That was a huge change, a huge risk, a huge success.
I have been working on my own personal change. As I’m learning how to integrate ISTE’s revised Standards for Students at our school (another change!), I’m making sure I practice what I preach. I want our students to have a positive digital presence, which I believe will help them get a job or get into college. I was greatly impacted by a blog article I read entitled The Resume is Dead. Here’s What You Need Instead. This positive digital presence means far more than just avoiding immature posts that could paint students in a negative light. It means publishing on the web. Blogging, commenting on blogs, having a YouTube channel, sharing what they know, engaging with professionals and like-minded people. It means creating a personal brand via a positive, online reputation.
So, I’m working to develop my own.
Change is, indeed, an opportunity to do something amazing. Don’t be afraid! Go ahead. Try one thing new today.