So, my first innovation plan to implement e-Portfolios within my school district crashed and burned. Not because it was a bad idea, my plan simply hit a stone wall. My assumption that CTE would be the perfect spot met with resistance at the highest level. Simply put, the CTE teachers already had too much on their plate, adding ePortfolios was simply too much. Break out plan B.
After much pondering, I realized that I was approaching the problem in the wrong direction. I was going top to bottom. Instead I needed to rethink my approach and go bottom to top. Thus, I approached my principal with the idea of implementing a campus wide OneNote. Central office already used this for administrator, but it had yet to be utilized at the campus level. I proposed a plan to train the campus on the use of OneNote, highlighting the advantages of a one stop shopping type of plan. My principal reviewed my proposal and saw the advantages it offered. We discussed these as well as the disadvantages. After several meetings, she agreed that it was a good proposal and that we would implement it in October 2019 training.
October came and went; the training was postponed due to school district mandated training. My principal and I discussed avenues available and she proposed I create a simple training session with videos to introduce the staff to OneNote. I was skeptical but put together a simple document with links to OneNote training videos. Immediately the uproar began. They already had too much on their plate and this was one more “unnecessary” training. We met once more, surprisingly; she was upbeat about the plan. She was 100% behind me and we were to go forward with the next step, formal training at the beginning of January.
First day back from Christmas break and I had a two-hour window for training on OneNote. After the initial fifteen-minute introduction, the negativity began. Why was it necessary, we already similar programs in place, this was simply the next program of the year, etc. These were colleagues I worked with day in and day out. I was taken back by the resistance and hostility. I decided to bring my teacher voice out and take control. Some were taken aback; others were stunned as they were not used to a peer talking to them in that form. I explained that we were at the forefront of change. We could be ahead, as we had been in the past or play catch-up to the district. My principal chimed in with agreement and that she supported me 100%.
A month and a half later, the staff is all using OneNote, to one extent or another. All staff notices and notes are posted there. I use it daily for teaching and two teachers have asked for help in using it as well. Progress is slow, I am being asked to spend one on one training on specifics now. We are progressing forward; the plan is coming together.
· never underestimate the resistance to new ideas, especially if technology is involved.
· a slower introduction, allowing for staff to preview the changes before attending the first meeting.
· More time to explore it themselves before making the changes mandatory.
There are far too many things that I could have done different for me to disclose, the major lesson I learned is that I cannot assume that because they are my peers, they will be open to new innovations. I have to figure out a way to lay the ground work first, to make it intriguing and then spring my innovation. If that doesn’t work, back to the drawing board but never give up, never surrender.