I don´t like routine. I never leave the house at the same time each day. I never do the same thing each morning. I don´t like seeing the same faces on the way to work. I like difference, unfamiliarity and change.
Recently I made a big change in my life. After 10 years of living and working in the same town. I packed up, threw out and moved to Brazil. I do have the tendency to be a drama queen, but I feel like this change has saved me.
I don´t drive so I don´t know what you should change if your car starts to spin out of control. But I have danced many times in high heeled boots on slippery, beer covered dance floors. I have had to make some quick changes to my dance moves to avoid falling on my arse! In making these changes I discovered some amazing new moves. I had to make a change to avoid things going wrong and the change gave me some slick routines! If you are in a spin a change can help get you back on the road, stop you making a fool of yourself in a nightclub, or find you a new life.
I believe in change as force for good. At times, I have also used change as an avoidance strategy. However, I think the ability to seek out and manage change is strength. The ability to cope with change is a skill. Moving here was hard. After four months I still struggle to complete even the smallest tasks. Being away from everything that is familiar and safe, is hard. But it is so good for me, I appreciate the things I left behind in ways I would never have done if I had stayed. From friends and family, to beautiful Brighton beach, the shops, the pubs, the changing seasons and the cold weather.
We use change at school all the time. When you start teaching you quickly realise that although you have to plan, schools are dynamic places, you never quite know what is going to happen next. You need to plan but you also need to be ready to adapt, to a fire bell, a fight, a broken heart, an interruption, a last-minute assembly, or an absence.
When I had a classroom I would change the desk arrangement every few weeks. I liked the way it made the pupils move around, they had to engage with each other in different spaces. I like the way it set up an air of unexpectedness. They didn’t know what would happen when they came in the room. A slight uncertainty to avoid complacency.
Some SEN pupils struggle to manage change. That doesn´t mean we should avoid change to keep them safe. The world is an ever-changing space and they need to be ready for it. In difficult situations at school when I could feel that a confrontation might be getting out of control a change in tone, gesture or question could turn the situation around. If a lesson was spinning out of control, the pupils didn´t know what they were doing, the task wasn´t working, I was getting frustrated, you had to know when to say stop, scrap it, make a change, and do something else.
As teachers we can often feel there is too much change in the education system. We are subjected, through political whims, to constant new initiatives, new drives, new solutions. But, I don´t think I could have stayed in teaching this long if I hadn´t been able to change, schools, jobs, lesson plans, ideas, techniques or colleagues.
Change doesn´t have to be painful, stressful or frightening. This latest change, my biggest challenge, has bought me so many gifts; people, places, opportunities, experiences. I don´t regret a second of it, making this change has allowed me to change.