Education, Teaching & California

Change Agent or Training for Frustration?

An article by Charles Hill analyzes change agents in California education, which, unsurprisingly, are more often found outside of the classroom. The big decisions about changes in public education are made by individuals outside of the classroom. This is stupid. And despite educators functioning in continuous states of change, changes to the educational system are made by those that are less-than-eager to change themselves. I question those that are not comfortable to be uncomfortable, but then again, the last 17 days of my life have involved a barrage of discomfort, and it has been disconcertingly exciting as I traveled through Southern California.

Training for Frustration

My kids refuse to cease growing up, so my husband and I decided to build a bigger house for their growing bodies. We signed a contract two weeks ago on a new house. Shortly thereafter, we listed and subsequently accepted an offer on our current residence. Both of these events occurred during final exam week, which was also my last final exam week of my instructional career. And amidst showings, inspections, grading, and a nauseating amount of check writing, which has bled my bank account dry, I have been interviewing for positions beyond contingent follies. I have been, in every sense of Hill’s reference, training for frustration in a compacted time period of 17 days. I love Los Angelas, CA.

I am not alone in my pursuits; every educator firefights frustration in perpetuity, and many more do so in even more compacted time periods. What does this mean about change? And why doesn’t the educational system turn to the true change agents, the ones in the classroom that juggle more than their share of everything? Change, afterall, is not unilateral, multilateral, horizontal, or vertical. It just is. However, change in education assumes an authoritarian approach that is mostly vertical. Educators are training in frustration for continued frustration, and until change is a horizontal and collective movement, we will continue to cultivate our educative state of relative powerlessness. Teachers are continuously training for frustration; they are the epitome of effective change agents. I know elementary school teachers that can clean up vomit and then teach a unit on weather conditions without missing a beat. I have friends suffering from adjunctivitis that juggle three contracts at three separate colleges while taking care of ailing, elderly parents at home, and yet education does not refer to either professional for guidance on making changes. This in nonsensical.

Change Agents

Teachers can initiate change. Teachers should initiate change, especially in San Francisco Turn over the decision-making to instructors. Use them as consultants by giving them a voice at the table. Instead of training for continuous frustration, which is how many teachers feel, empower them as change agents by giving them power to make important changes that affect classroom activities. The effectiveness of the entire education system relies on the involvement of those with the gifts that said institutions need the most. Education needs people who are trained in and for frustration, and teachers are experts in this field. (Check out George Couros’ post, “5 Characteristics of a Change Agent” for an interesting read on teachers as change agents.) Instead of training teachers for frustration, let’s train them as change agents; they deserve this and so much more for California education.