Swimming Upstream

If you have ever played an active role in change work, you have likely spent time wishing that creating change were as easy as simply talking about it.

Wild and endangered Coho salmon, North Umpqua River, Deadline Falls by Francis Eatherington
Wild and endangered Coho salmon, North Umpqua River, Deadline Falls by Francis Eatherington

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Julie’s blog.

“We would be able to do our jobs more effectively if the word ‘instructional’ were in our title.”

This is a comment made during my work with Advanced Learning Partnerships and an amazing group of School-Based Technology Specialists in a Virginia school district last week.

This comment is emblematic of the chasm that separates talking about change and actually making it happen.

With a tip of my hat to all those who are swimming upstream, here are a few things to try during any transformation process.

Test out your If…Then…

If you find yourself making comments like the above, take them for a test drive. Start calling yourself an instructional technology coach. Does that make an impact?

You will either take action on a behavior that confirms your hypothesis or realize it needs to be thrown out as an excuse.

Give people more than they expect.

Nobody is as passionate about what you do as you. You will never convince people what you do is as or more important than what they do. Add value instead. Go out of your way to notice what others are doing. Share resources. Offer concrete ways to save time, reduce frustration, or enhance learning for students.

By giving people more than they expect, you reset their expectations and give yourself space to draw outside the lines.

Insist on your own effectiveness.

There will always be external forces that act as help or hindrance. It is our decision to own our effectiveness that will be the deciding factor in our success in any role.

Don’t give away that power away to a person, a title, or a snazzy suit.

Look within your sphere of influence and contribute.

People will notice.

Your sphere will spread.

Keep Swimming. I believe in you.

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