As I begin my 31st year in education, I marvel at the number of changes that the system has gone through over the years. Not just our particular system, but the educational process, in general. We have had a whole host of changes presented to us in the name of improvement. None of us can argue with the need to improve, and left to our own, we would probably fix the things that need fixing and leave alone the things that don’t need fixing. There is just something about having someone else tell you what you need to do to make yourself better. While change is a tough thing to do and most of us are not big fans of change, there is usually some resentment when told to do something different. Even when we know that the change will do us good and make whatever it is we are doing better, we still grumble and complain. It’s the nature of the beast.
I think that the biggest complaint would probably have to do with the frequency that these changes come to us. From what I understand, it takes five to seven years for a change to be effectively put into place. Unfortunately, it seems as if the changes are given to us about every three years. It doesn’t make sense to us that we have to make a change when we haven’t had a chance to see if the last one worked or not. Whatever the case, we make the changes we need to make
tudents are on the receiving end of all of that change and I cannot remember any time in my career that I heard a student complain about the change that was taking place. They are probably not aware that all of that change is to improve curriculum, instruction, assessment, and accountability. What they do know is that their parents, teachers, and administrators are always talking about how well they need to do on this test or that test. In some grades they take these high stakes tests and in other grades, they don’t. They hear about how well they have to do on an achievement test, a graduation test, or a college admission’s test. All the while, the standards, the questions, the scoring, and the criteria for passing are constantly being changed.
What do our students do? They simply do what they always do – they get the job done. The meet or exceed the ever-rising expectations that are set for them without so much as making a fuss about it all. Truth be told, some of our students do stress over all of this – as do our parents, teachers, and administrators. In the end, we sit back and wait for the results to confirm pretty much what we already knew. We have some pretty special kids and we hope that they know how much we appreciate all of the hard work and effort that they put in to everything that they do – in and out of the classroom. And after all of that, they bounce back and go about their lives. These young people have shown us what it is like to be adaptable, flexible, and resilient.
Students - Thank you for being role models to us when it comes to accepting change. Congratulations on all of your achievements and accomplishments. Thank you for another great year and we hope that the coming year is even better for you, wherever you may be.
Dr. David Vail is the superintendent for the Versailles Exempted Village School District. He can be reached atDavid_Vail@darke.k12.oh.us. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.