Once upon a time, in a land closer than far, there was a middle school nestled in a neighborhood. Fate Middle School was an established middle school with many students who needed extra help and teachers who felt the same. Many of the faculty moved on for various reasons and there was always new teachers on the staff. The principal was fairly new himself, but his heart and desire to do good was bigger than any obstacle that came his way.
One day, the principal asked a friend, the professor, for some help with figuring out what makes Fate Middle School the way it is. The principal knew that things has to change and he wasn’t sure of the best way to get teachers the help they needed. The principal and professor decided to have the teachers work together on a project that would help them learn to help students. The project was called Woodit. They spent a lot of money buying books on how to do the Woodit. They spent half a day explaining the Woodit to the teachers. Then the teachers were expected to meet every week to do the Woodit.
Some of the teachers read the book on the Woodit. Some didn’t. Some of the new faculty members tried to talk about the Woodit at the weekly meetings, but the veteran teachers told them they didn’t have time. They needed to plan for their lessons instead. The kids were the most important and worksheets needed to be copied. The Woodit would have to wait. Maybe they would have time next week.
After about a year, the principal and professor decided to bring in some very smart, hard-working doctoral students to help figure out how the Woodit was working. The doctoral students interviewed the teachers. Some students found that the teachers were angry. Some found that the teachers were silent. Other teachers were guarded in what they said to the students. But the truth was clear that the teachers did not know what a Woodit was or what the point of the Woodit was.
So dear readers, take away this lesson when introducing new ideas to your staff. Take the time to introduce, re-introduce, hold accountable, and keep checking back. And if you need help, I know a group of really smart doctoral students.