North Carolina educators are undergoing more change now than they ever have before, and as we know, change is often difficult. District and school leaders often bear the double burden of both experiencing the natural fears and frustrations that accompany monumental change and fielding questions, fears, and frustrations of teachers and leaders in your district.
One resource you might consider is reading Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard. Chip and Dan Heath’s novel provides insight as to why change is so difficult for us. The underlying understanding of the novel centers around the discovery by psychologists that the human mind is ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants to fit into skinny jeans; the emotional mind wants that bowl of ice cream or bag of chips. Similarly, the rational mind wants to change something at work, but the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension, although a natural part of our humanity, can doom a change effort—but if we learn to understand and learn to overcome this dichotomy, change can come quickly.
A thought-provoking and effortless read, Switch that chronicles multiple examples of successful change. The novel provides a framework individuals or teams can use to make the changes that matter, whether personal or professional. Each example demonstrates a clear example of how to overcome the fear, frustration, and “brick walls” that often accompany change.
Switch would make a great PLC read for district leaders, principals, or teachers. Amidst a sea of educational overhaul, this novel would make a great district-wide read for all personnel. Talking about our own uncertainties and having a shared language to articulate these anxieties can help us understand our feelings and explore strategies to overcome barriers we encounter.