Why Teachers Don’t Like Change & How to Change Their Mindset

Oct, 05, 2019
A lot of teachers don't like to change their ways. Find out why and how to help them change their mindset!

Last week I attended the Response to Intervention (R.T.I.) At Work Institute by Solution Tree. I thought we would spend three days going over different strategies for R.T.I. and tools we should use. Instead, we focused on school culture and why you need your team on board for changes to happen. Luis Cruz, our keynote speaker, called our coworkers who are resistant to change C.A.V.E people.

What’s C.A.V.E.? Colleagues Against Virtually Everything. We all know a few of them. They always complain when things change. Luis’ acronym made me think about current and past colleagues. I’ve always thought that my coworkers who are resistant to change were lazy. In my mind, they didn’t want to put in the work to make the change.

But, Luis Cruz explained that there are three reasons why C.A.V.E. people exist in our schools, and if we want changes to work, we need to address their needs.

They Don’t Know The Why

I am that teacher who typically doesn’t resist change or new ideas. If you tell me to try out a new initiative, I’m open to implementing change. We all know some teachers aren’t receptive to change. For some, it’s because they don’t understand why.

These teachers need data to prove its effectiveness. They want the reasoning behind the change. Showing them data, statistics, and any other facts can help C.A.V.E. teachers see why the new initiative is critical to implement for their students. If you show how their students will benefit, they’ll be more likely to buy-in.

Class Goal Setting Guide. Set goals with your students using the Class Goal Setting Guide #studentneeds #differentiation

They Don’t Trust Who Is Delivering the Message

On many campuses, there is a lack of trust. The administration doesn’t trust the teachers, and the teachers don’t trust the administration. Change for better won’t work if there is not a positive team on board to implement the change.

Did you get that? For change to work, you have to have a positive school culture. If your team is toxic, you should fix your culture first. I feel that in the past, this is why some schools I’ve worked for only saw pockets of growth. Everyone wasn’t on board due to the culture. Since it was coming from someone who seemed only to want to increase our workload, the teachers didn’t digest the information that was given, let alone implement it.

They Don’t Know How

Not knowing how to implement the change is something that never crossed my mind. I thought that some C.A.V.E. people were just stubborn. Or didn’t want to do the work. When you think of people that don’t want to do the work, do you think that they may not know how?

Before we make changes, we need to think about what kind of support is required. Which teachers will need help? What resources will teachers need? When will they get time to plan? How will they access the resources they need?

If the change-makers provide their teachers with everything they need in their tool belt, there is less of a chance they will be against the new changes.

We all know that change is hard, but changing ineffective policies at schools is what’s best for our kiddos. Those who are resistant to change, for the most part, do so for one of three reasons. They’ll need an explanation for the change and information about its benefits. If they don’t know why, then why should they change?

Others don’t trust the messenger. The person who is delivering the change is essential. Are they trusted? Does the staff respect them? It doesn’t matter if it’s the best idea in the world; if the team doesn’t like who is making the change, everyone won’t be on board.

Lastly, if the team doesn’t have what they need to implement the change, they won’t want to do the work. It’s pretty hard to convince someone to do something if you don’t have what you need to get it done.

Are you the C.A.V.E. on your team? I know I’ve been on at least once. But, it was for one of the reasons above. If you’re working with a C.A.V.E., think about ways to support them!

Melissa Nikohl

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