Trying to introduce something new in a school is often a challenge. Even in the most dynamic environment, you will likely meet resistance and hurdles to overcome.
This is as true for good ideas as it is for bad ones. Sometimes the new strategy or tool just doesn’t catch on and no matter what you do, the momentum never really gets going. But it can be difficult to judge whether a new idea you are attempting to introduce is having teething problems or is something that, actually, isn’t going to work.
Are there times when you just need to call it quits and admit that, for one reason or another, whatever you’re trying to do isn’t working? I would say yes, definitely.
When I moved to a new school, one of the things on my action plan was to introduce class blogs across the school. I had done so in my previous school and they had gone down well. I was enthusiastic about getting them started, but I ended up taking on a few different roles elsewhere, meaning that the need to get class blogs off the ground slipped down my list of priorities.
This for me did not mean the end of the idea. I would introduce them at a later date instead, I thought. But driven by my initial enthusiasm, I had created a display in the ICT suite all about class blogs. It was there for weeks, then months, and still no class blogs. It was a constant reminder to everyone that blogs were not that important. I was losing the PR war.
Not wanting to admit defeat, at one point I even put a “Coming soon!” sign up on the display. I was convinced I would get around to getting the whole school blogging. But this just looked even more desperate, making the idea even less workable.
Of course, the blogs never did happen. It would have been a whole lot less embarrassing – and less stressful – if I could have just let it go and been honest with myself that the class-blogging drive wasn’t going to happen at that point in time.
It can be really hard to accept that not all projects will be completed successfully. However, without wanting to sound too clichéd, even if a project isn’t successful, it’s not really a failure if you have learned something from it.
You see, this year, I put class blogs on my action plan again, but I’ve introduced them in quite a different way. First of all, I’ve started with just Years 5 and 6. Also, rather than trying to find the time to show teachers how to do it and leaving it as another side project for them to deal with, I’ve taught a whole unit on blogging in Year 5 and 6’s computing lessons. Having that curriculum time set aside has enabled us to focus on it properly. And, very importantly, this time I created a display about it after the children had started blogging. You live and you learn.
Claire Lotriet is a teacher at Henwick Primary School in London. She tweets at @OhLottie and blogs at www.clairelotriet.com