Stop and Ask Why

I got the opportunity a couple of years ago to become the department head of the history department of my middle school.  I knew this was going to be a challenge from the day I took it over, but I always thought that it couldn’t be too challenging.  I guess I never stopped to think about how the people in my department could make me stop and ask why I’m doing things.

Very recently I’ve started to get challenged on some basic things that I took for granted.  For instance, this year we opted to not issue every student a history textbook.  We did this for a number of reasons, the main one being that we thought that we needed to use the textbook as a resource and not a crutch.  My principal and I both thought that history from a textbook is a boring way to be force fed history.  Some of my department disagreed, but went along with it.  For the most part this school year it hasn’t been an issue, but this week I feel like I’m starting to get more resistance.  I’ve gotten challenged in meetings and it has been referenced in our department meetings.  Usually, this wouldn’t have bothered me very much, but I was absolutely exhausted on Friday and it seemed to linger with me.

All of today I reflected on the situation and I had to ask myself why I’ve chosen some things that I have.  I think my assumption was that my department all thought the same as I did about these topics, but when they didn’t I had to go back to the drawing board.  What I settled on was that we’re doing the things we are in the history department because my principal and I think it is what’s best for the kids at my middle school.  Period.  All I want is for the kids that walk through this school to be taught by the best educators possible.  I think some people in my department get scared when they see test scores.  My focus is not the test scores, it’s making the teaching in my department to be the best it possibly can be.  I have to remind myself that often or I start to waffle on what needs to happen.

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