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A Teacher's Guide to Change

A Teacher's Guide to Change
Understanding, Navigating, and Leading the Process

Edited by:

October 2009 | 176 pages | Corwin
Change in education is inevitable. Throughout their careers, teachers will face a myriad of changes, both inside and outside of the classroom. This valuable professional development resource demonstrates how K-12 teachers can anticipate and respond to change in creative, advantageous ways that can enhance their career satisfaction and effectiveness as professionals.

Emphasizing that change is something teachers can understand, manage, become invested in, and even champion, the authors provide practical skills for facing and adjusting to change, whether it is mandated or a personal choice. Offering a wealth of conceptual, reflective, interpersonal, and strategic tools, this guide also includes:

- Reflections from a survey of 100 teachers who share their experiences with change as well as advice and encouragement, inviting educators to learn from each other

- A five-step process for initiating and implementing plans for change

- Research-based strategies for leading change, both in smaller and larger spheres of influence

- Vivid examples that can be directly applied to personal experience

Reflective exercises to assist teachers in understanding and approaching change

This accessible resource is invaluable for both new and experienced teachers. Whether or not change is voluntary, opportunities for professional growth are abundant, leading to improved student learning and greater teacher retention.

About the Authors
Part I. Experiencing Change
1. Introducing the Challenges of Change for Teachers
2. What Changes? Experiencing Change at School and at Home
Changes at School

New Administration

New Teaching Positions

New Locations

New Colleagues

Professional Development

Professional Recognition

Changes in Life at Home



Changes in Relationships and Responsibilities


Connecting Our Professional and Personal Changes to the Change That Matters Most

3. Defining the Dynamics of Change for Teachers
Voluntary or Mandated

Top-Down or Bottom-Up

Incremental or Fundamental

Part II. Understanding the Change Process
4. First Encounters With Change
Responding to Innovation

Innovations in Educational Practices

Categorizing Responsiveness to Innovation

Understanding Resistance to Change

Resistance We Should Resolve

Failure to Be Convinced


Fear of Loss

Fear of Failure

Negative Experiences

Resistance We Should Respect

Pragmatic Concerns

Philosophical Disagreements

Analyzing One Teacher's Resistance to Change

5. Charting the Stages of Change
Teachers' Concerns Evolve During the Change Process

Stages of Concern

Self Concerns

Task Concerns

Impact Concerns

Change Occurs in Phases

An Overview of the Change Process

Endings: Recognizing That a Change Is Needed

The Neutral Zone: Preparing to Change

New Beginnings: Moving Ahead With Change

Part III. Implementing Change
6. Using Personal Experiences to Prepare for Professional Changes
Drawing on Personal Experiences

Four Steps for Starting a Professional Change Initiative

Step One: Identify Aspirations

Step Two: Inventory Resources

Step Three: Link Aspirations and Resources

Step Four: Anticipate Obstacles

7. Teacher-Directed Change: Working Within the Classroom
Implementing, Evaluating, and Celebrating Self-Directed Change

Step One: Aim High But Start Small

Step Two: Build a Timeline

Step Three: Monitor Both Progress and Outlook

Step Four: Celebrate Small Victories

Step Five: Shift Strategies to Make Adjustments

Step Six: Sustain Commitment

Part IV. Leading Change
8. Teacher-Led Change: Expanding Beyond the Classroom
Characteristics of Change Leaders

Spheres of Influence

Curriculum Development

Cocurricular and Extracurricular Programming

Outreach to Families and the Community

Professional Development for Teachers

Education Policy

9. Using Classroom-Based Skills to Lead Change
Part V. Changing Throughout a Career in Teaching
Inspiring Others to Accomplish Change: Mind-Set and Skills

Making Use of Teaching Skills to Lead Change

Communicate Clearly and Regularly

Motivate People to Take Risks and Accept Challenges

Be Proactive in Problem Solving

Making Use of Teaching Skills to Sustain Change

Check on Progress

Provide Continuous Assistance

Remember What Matters Most

10. Sustaining Career Vitality Through Change
The Early Years: Gaining a Sense of Ourselves as Teachers

The Middle Years: Making the Transition From Mentee to Mentor

The Later Years: Expanding Our Roles

Looking to the Future

Appendix A. Survey Items and Responses
Appendix B. Interview Questions
Appendix C. Professional Organizations for Teachers

"A must-have book for teachers at every stage of their teaching career. Change in schools is inevitable. This book will help teachers deal with change and allow them to do what they do best: provide a great education for students."

Sharon Redfern, Principal
Highland Park Elementary School, Lewistown, MT

"Coping with change is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of life and certainly critical for successful teaching. Stivers and Cramer provide an essential guide to how teachers might successfully address the ongoing and expected change associated with effective teaching."

Sharon Vaughn, H.E.Hartfelder/Southland Corp Regents Chair
University of Texas

"Perhaps no other job in our society today experiences as much change as classroom teaching. Stivers and Cramer are two experts with tremendous insight and experience in both the theoretical and practical dimensions of personal, organizational, and systemwide change. Heartwarming, insightful stories explore how dozens of teachers overcome the challenges of living and leading through change every day, blended with rock-solid theory and extensive research on how to live through change successfully."

Chris Edgelow, Founder and President
Sundance Consulting Inc.

"Teachers must learn to cope with the myriad of changes they experience throughout their career or they will leave the profession. This book gives a step-by-step approach for teachers to think about, plan for, and implement changes in their personal lives, their schools, and in their communities."

Barbara Glaeser, Associate Professor of Special Education
California State University, Fullerton

"How we react to and enact change determines whether we are leaders of our own careers and professional development or merely workers. This book provides the research and information for teachers to embrace change individually or as teacher leaders and teacher mentors. Skip the apple and go for the book!"

Karen Kozy-Landress, Speech/Language Pathologist
Brevard County Schools, Merritt Island, FL

"This text is an outstanding analysis of change that all of us in the education profession face on a daily basis. It is a must-read for every thoughtful teacher concerned with change."

D. Allan Bruner, Science/Math Chair
Colton High School, OR

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