School change: a conversation with future administrators

by Steve Wyckoff on June 23, 2010

For many years I have spoken to perspective building administrators as an adjunct professor and as a visiting lecturer. This week I had the pleasure of visiting with a class of prospective school administrators at the University of Kansas.

I’ve always enjoyed these visits mainly because I enjoy listening to myself speak, but the students have always been polite and somewhat engaged. My topic is always centered around school change, which for the most part is of little relevance to school administrators.

Typically the students are much like well-behaved students in a driver’s ed class. They already know how to drive a car and they are simply suffering through the class to lower their insurance rates. In this case, the master’s degree students in educational administration are pretty sure, no very sure, that they already no what a principle does and how to do it. They’re just putting in their time to earn the certificate that allows them to be principals.

This class was different. In fact, at one point I even asked them if deep in their hearts’ they already knew how to be a principal. They responded “yes.” But in spite of that there seemed to be authentic emotional engagement in the conversation. They seem to truly believe, as Prof. Neil stated, that we may be nearing the tipping point in education.

Perhaps they were just sucking up but I got the sense that they were truly concerned about what we’re doing in education and that we are headed the wrong direction. I hope so. If we don’t engage in real school change soon, we may be in real trouble as a society. – Steve Wyckoff

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