Do you do things right or are you doing the right things?

In this guest blog, educator Rachel Kane shares her insights on why being open to change is the best lesson of all.

I have been a teacher for over seventeen years. I have taught thousands of students in different grade levels, different countries and different educational settings. I have seen so many different types of pedagogy, ways to assess and report and ideas on student behaviour.

From my first day on the job I was always that teacher that did everything right. I followed the code of conduct, I took notes in staff meetings, I was the first to complete a task and I took on as much extra work as I could.

While I always modelled the correct behaviour, taught the right curriculum, and understood the pedagogy, it took until these last few years to really understand what makes a great teacher and to recognise my faults.

I now understand that it is not enough to do everything right, to work harder than everyone else, to be the best at things; you have to be open to change and to learning new things and to adapt with the times.

Education changes so quickly and it is very easy to cling to what you know because it worked previously. But our students now are so different now. They have access to the whole world through technology and they are encouraged to think for themselves not to just rote learn their times tables.

I recently had an article shared with me which really resonated with me, The Most Important Teaching Skill for the Modern Educator to Master. It is about the ability to turn things around. I love this idea because so often in life things don’t go the way we want them to and instead of complaining about it we can actually use the things that go wrong as an opportunity to improve next time.

My school promotes the idea as being a lifelong learner and I really embrace this concept. I recently did an online leadership course where I learnt so many things, too many to mention here. One of the things I learnt was that change is scary and hard. Reflecting on this I realised that so often I redo the things that work and I get frustrated when I am told to do them in a different way. I don’t like change and the course made me recognise that this is a normal thing however it doesn’t have to define me.

So I am learning new things. I am aware that my IT skills are not as proficient as they could be. Instead of accepting this, I am learning and I am even teaching others how to do things! I have enrolled in a nutrition course. I am more thoughtful in my responses to questions and I think very carefully about how to frame them. I taught myself to knit and these holidays I have a goal of learning how to touch type.

I’d like to think that I will be learning all my life as I have discovered that this makes me content and to be content is even better than being happy as it is a more lasting state of being than a moment in time.

Don’t be scared to do things differently! Challenge yourself to learn new things and look for opportunities in all places, especially in disappointment.

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