Words of Wisdom about Change

“Stay the course.”

“Is this the hill you want to die on?”

“Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

Three quotes, from three leaders, who I was fortunate to work with during my 28-year career as an educator to-date. Three quotes that have guided my actions, and become my mantras during challenging times leading and supporting change in Canadian and international schools.

“Stay the course.”

Change, even for enthusiastic, intrepid international teachers, is hard. Leading change in international schools can be a roller-coaster of emotions, responding to the needs and demands of the stakeholders involved. This quote, shared with me in my first international school, has helped me work with teacher teams to implement curriculum review cycles, develop assessment policies, analyse student work to guide instruction, and so much more.

On the hard days, it is my mantra. On the good days, it is my reward.

“Is this the hill you want to die on?”

Change should never be for the sake of change. Change should be based on the goal of implementing the school mission, addressing student needs, or ensuring continual growth and improvement. Even if change is based on these lofty ideals, however, there may be a negative impact on the relationships and culture of our schools. As an assistant principal, my principal constantly asked me this question, leading me to reflect on how important the change really was, and whether it was worth the cost. In some cases, it made me change direction. In others, it made me spend more time listening and talking to others. It always made me think.

“Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

Knowing that all the thoughtful planning in the world can fall flat if the school culture is not ready to accept or embrace the change, was a huge lesson for me from one of my international school leaders. Working with all stakeholders to create a positive, learning-focused environment is the most important work that we do. I love this quote to ground me when we are doing strategic planning, or mapping out a three-year goal. It has led me to be far more collaborative and support greater distributive leadership in schools, knowing that the culture created, will improve and support any action plan for change.

These three leadership quotes have guided my career so far. I hope that at least one of them speaks to you. My plan is to share leadership quotes and stories from our PTC, TTC, and CTC trainers in an upcoming TIE blog. As an international community, we have so much to share and learn from eachother.

 

 

 

About Sue Easton

Sue Easton is the Director of the Teacher Training Center. She has worked with international schools for the past eleven years, on four continents, in roles focused on enhancing teaching and learning practices. This experience has made her passionate about the topic of change and how to best make change to support students and student learning. Her blog will explore this topic through the lens of PTC, TTC and CTC trainers' words of wisdom.
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