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Past President Keith Hodgson

609-317-0906 Leading And Embracing Change

New Jobs / Old Jobs / Sgo’s / Evaluation And More

As summer winds down and I am thinking about getting started with a new school year, I’m sure I am not alone in my thoughts of all the changes that lie ahead for our profession in the coming months and years. I look at change in two ways: First, as something that is forced upon you, where you have little to no input as to how it will affect you; where the natural tendency is to resist and rebel against the change making your job or that part of your life miserable; second, as an opportunity to grow, open new doors, build new relationships, establish new directions and produce change that will be truly transformative for you, your organization and your life. I would like to highly recommend the second!

New Job / Old Job... Leading Change...

It is very encouraging to see the excitement of new teachers posting their new jobs on Facebook and other forms of social media as they announce to the world with their youthful spirit how enthusiastic they are about having the chance to finally join our noble profession. There are many others who are moving into new jobs and are anticipating fresh challenges, new relationships and the chance to affect change in alter- native ways in their professional lives. The majority of us will hopefully return to jobs that we have dedicated ourselves to for many years, and to the students that will be eagerly expecting us to teach and lead them to many motivational, musically inspired and memorable experiences. A successful “organization of the future” always involves the changing of a culture. So often for teachers, the dangerous trap of doing things and teaching the way we have always done not only fails to produce change, but over time our methods and techniques tend to become stale and outdated, lose student interest and produce lower quality experiences in the classroom and on the performance stage. In a highly recommended book, “Leading Change” by the world’s foremost expert on business leadership John Kotter, Kotter explains the

change framework as a roadmap or “multi-stage process” that must be driven by high-quality leadership. The book discusses in detail how a purely managerial mindset inevitably fails but when combined with a well-communicated and inspiring vision, and a well-developed process to address the culture, it WILL produce positive change. Isn’t that exactly what every principal wants to see from each and every teacher? Isn’t that what student growth objectives, if designed and

assessed properly, could do to produce change in every classroom in every school? I believe that music educators are in a very unique position to have a tremendous effect on the growth of students in a way that will not be seen in any other classroom. In what other discipline do you have all of the students wanting to be in your class; a curriculum that all students love; all students being physically, mentally and emotion- ally engaged daily; the ability to see, hear and experience the improvement and success of each and every student everyday; more fun-filled technology to motivate, engage and assess music students; and the ability to inspire creativity, express oneself and emotionally inspire young lives? I can’t think of any? Lastly, is there any other subject area where the educator presents every student’s growth and accomplishments, the curriculum, as well as

the teacher’s professional growth and development to all of the parents, administration, Board and community several times each and every year? Isn’t that what is really taking place at a concert performance? So, how will you plan your SGO’s this year?


Who can honestly say that a having growth objectives for our students is not EXACTLY what we should ALL be doing, for ALL of our students, ALL of the time? Last spring, I served on a statewide committee of teachers that were involved in validating and fine tuning the proposed SGO document

by the NJDOE. The proposed student growth objectives were overwhelmingly supported as a positive change by teachers at all levels, in all subject areas and from a variety of teaching experiences. In a nutshell, I saw student growth objectives as a way of formalizing what we already do so well, with the added component of developing ways to assess and document that growth. Unfortunately, what I see as the flaw in the SGO plan is that teachers and administrators might agree on sub-standard student goals that

will be below what we would in reality expect from our students. The fear of evaluation concerns due to student growth accomplishments by both teachers and principals may cause some to lower standards so as to see and present high growth.

continued on page 8 TEMPO 6 OCTOBER 2013

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