For a profession in which every day is different, teachers can be creatures of habit. Some veterans have been teaching the same preps for a decade or more. And for people who like their schools running like a machine, many administrators don’t see a need to upset the apple cart.
Shaking things up is a topic that comes up every summer during scheduling meetings. Sometimes it’s out of necessity (teachers leave or retire) or as a response to underperformance. Should you consider a reshuffling of the deck? Let’s have a look.
What’s the goal?
Change for the sake of change rarely moves things in a positive direction. If you are considering moving the schedule around, you need to have a specific goal in mind. Usually that goal would be higher student achievement.
Has the performance of a teacher, hall, or grade level stagnated? Would reorganizing interdisciplinary teams have an effect? Would putting similar class levels together reduce disciplinary issues? Have a measurable reason for embarking on a project.
Try not to single anyone out
Mrs. Smith has taught 7th grade honors English for over 15 years. She’s widely respected and has produced some of the school’s most successful students. She’s practically an institution. Then, for whatever reason, you decide to move her to 8th grade traditional English. Upon hearing the news, every teacher in that school will think something is up — even if it’s not. And no matter what she says, Mrs. Smith will be embarrassed.
If she’s the only person, or one of only a few, changing preps this summer, it appears as if she’s being singled out. That’s bad for morale across the school. If you want to move someone, make it part of a package deal (with a measurable goal) that can be easily justified. Then it feels as if the move was fair to all concerned.
Move preps; don’t move rooms
Nothing gets a teacher started on the wrong foot like coming back from a relaxing summer and finding out they need to pack up their room and move across the campus. Time during preschool in which they were planning on preparing lessons is now going to be taken up with logistical challenges. It can take them months to get back in the groove.
It might be unavoidable in order to reach your goals, but if possible try to avoid teachers having to move their rooms. Teaching a new prep will already mean additional planning work; adding moving to the equation is too much to accomplish in a preschool week. If you can’t avoid it, at least make an effort to open the school up early so those teachers can get a head start if they so choose.