David B. Cohen
For those of us working in school systems with traditional calendars, summer offers a valued opportunity to recuperate from the stress of one school year and prepare for the next, simultaneously. In all likelihood, some
of the planning for the next academic year began in
the spring or even winter of the prior year, but the
summer offers a chance to finally concentrate our
energy on the future. Depending on what changes we
anticipate in our schools, this summer preparation
may be invigorating—or it may induce further stress.
How can we keep the balance on the positive side?
An Era of Change
First, we must embrace the constancy of change.
I spent the 2014–2015 school year visiting public
schools throughout California, gathering stories
for my book Capturing the Spark: Inspired Teaching,
Thriving Schools (Enactive Publishing, 2016). I don’t
think I ever had a conversation with a teacher in
which I was told, “Nothing much has changed here
in a while.” Change is our constant companion in
education, especially in the past 16 years, which have
given us high-speed internet, mobile connectivity,
and a variety of policy shifts—some fairly tumul-
tuous—around testing, standards, and accountability.
The question is whether or not educators can make
choices or select strategies that seize the exciting
potential of change without feeling so overwhelmed
that we want to leave the field.
The months and years ahead will be full of
uncertainty regarding federal policy. The Trump
administration and new U.S. Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos seem poised to bring about dramatic
changes in priorities, goals, funding, guidance, and
enforcement. So for teachers and school and district
Before It Drives
You Out of Teaching
Change is teachers’ constant companion.
Focusing on a few well-chosen goals each
year can help you protect your passion.