As many teachers progress at the speed of light, they have to remember that they started small. Their path to change started at the speed of a crawl. Years later when they are up and running they sometimes turn to other teachers and ask them to come running with them, and are shocked when they are turned down. This post is a reminder that if you want to help someone change don’t make them run, but help them first to crawl.
Every teacher down in Teacherville liked teaching a lot, but the kids, who lived in Teacherville – well, many of them did not. The teachers hated change – the whole school season. Now, please don’t ask why; no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that their shoes were too tight. Or it could be that their heads weren’t screwed on just right. But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that before you can walk…you must learn to crawl.
Twas the week before winter break and all through the school
The movies were playing, it was the half-day rule;
The gold stars were hung by the doors with care,
The chart was suppose to show, the students who cared;
The children were nestled all stuck in their chairs,
While visions of change brought their teacher much fear;
The teacher walked around, awoke students with a snap,
Trying to prevent them from taking a nap,
When out in the hallway there arose such a clatter,
The teacher sprang to door to see what was the matter.
It was the class across the hall, that gave her alarm,
And she tore open the door and threw up her arms.
The faces she saw smiled, giggled and glowed too,
In stark contrast to the classroom that she always knew,
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature laptop, there were eight tiny Acers,
With little tiny students, so lively and quick,
She knew in a moment it must be a trick.
Six groups working hard, none of the topics were the same,
And as she paused returning to her class, she realized her worksheets were lame;
“Now, Davis! now Jenny,! now, Trin and Billy!
Stop what you’re doing Kenya, Nicole and Willy!
Tear up those papers! Turn off the TV!
Now! throw it away! throw it away and destroy the DVD!”
The teacher decided, to let her kids free,
But she was met with an obstacle, NCLB,
She walked up to the front of the room that she led,
A room full of 504s, and six kids in special ed.
And then, in a twinkling, she heard a kid say,
So what are we doing, what will we do today.
As she took a deep breath, and wondered what to do with a frown,
When across the hallway came five little kids with a bound.
They were dressed all in costumes from their head to their feet,
And behind them their teacher appeared and looked at her kids in their seats,
A bundle of computers he had flung on his cart,
And the teacher just stopped and looked at the old fart..
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His cute little students were active and learning,
And his test scores were soaring and he did not look worried;
The movie his kids were making needed a few actors more,
And he decided to ask for help from the teacher that peeked into his door;
She thought he had happy kids and a room full of laughter,
But clearly the kids needed more discipline to sit like hers were.
There were strange assessments and tech stuff not like she did,
And he smiled as he approached her and surprised her with what he said;
“We need extras for our movies that we are going to publish on the web;”
She spoke not a word, she simply shook her head yes,
And then that old fart came in and took care of the rest,
Laying a finger up into the air,
He added her kids into his groups with care;
They sprang from their seats like tiny little missiles,
And worked in groups until they heard the teacher’s whistle.
The kids then filmed and acted out their plays written on civil rights
And she sat back and watched and said “Now this is a beautiful site.”
And what happened then…?
Well in Teacherville they say,
That the teacher’s will to change
Grew three sizes that day.
And the minute her heart relaxed and did not feel so tight,
She knew that changing her class was the thing that was right.
And she threw out the worksheets! And thought maybe at least…
Crawling towards change…
Would cause learning to increase.
During this holiday season give the gift of collaboration to your colleagues…
Ask them to participate in a big or small way,
They might be ready, ready to say yes today.
Because sometimes when people get stuck and seem to stall,
All they need is a helping hand…
Because the first step to change is a crawl.