Culture Shock

How Can One Person Change the Culture of a School?

1. Listen, observe, and collect information patiently.  Know your surroundings and understand the culture you’re in before you go about making any changes.  After all, how do you know what parts of the culture need to be changed if you haven’t spent any time living in that culture?

Example: I noticed where I work, teachers were not getting the PD they seriously needed.


2. Create a need for a new culture.  Ask your fellow staff members what they would change if they could. Collect this information. Determine the connections between teachers of all skill levels, age levels, and experience levels.

Example: Most teachers said they felt like they were on an island; especially with the Common Core.  They felt lost and that no one could help them.


3. Decide what needs to be changed. What is the most glaringly obvious change that needs to occur?  Focus on that.

Example: How to teach the Common Core.


4. Plant the seeds. Figure out a solution to the problem and spread your idea. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could…?” “Let’s ask if we can…?” “Let’s try…”

Example: I decided to put together a folder of skills-based (Language Arts) strategies that related to the skills addressed in the Common Core.


5. Encourage everyone. Start a conversation about how to make things better in your building.  Offer help to those who need it.  Offer your expertise to others and support their positive ideas.

Example: I offered this folder to everyone so they could choose which strategies worked for them.  (These were things I was already using in my classroom, I just made them available to everyone.)



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