In a great post, IMHO or Why Give Constructive Criticism, Kathy Schrock writes:
As I read along in a chapter about change, I came across the line. “Everyone knows that teachers, especially, are resistant to change.” Hold on! This book was written for educators– why dis' them in the text? And who is “everyone” and why are teachers more resistant to change than anyone in a different profession?
Kathy's question brought me up short. A pretty common complaint among tech "enthusiasts" is that teachers really don't want to try new things. I suspect for many there is an unspoken judgement that this means teachers are cowardly, lazy, or smug. Were they not one of these things, shouldn't they want to change?
I don't have a lot of experience outside of education, having worked in (mostly) public schools for my whole career. But my best guess is teachers are no more or less change resistant than those in any field and I base this knowing that the "Diffusion of Innovation" model has been around for over 50 years and was not based on the teaching profession, but agriculture change practices. The profession falls along this curve with those who are enthusiastic about change working beside the "rocks."
As widely accepted as this model is, shouldn't we conclude that all professions have practitioners within them that fall in each section of the curve. Doctors, farmers, engineers, homemakers, librarians, and truck drivers all have innovators and laggards in their respective fields?
Among my tech director colleagues I see both resisters and innovators as well. Just because one is in the technology field doesn't mean that he or she is a big change agent. (Any of your schools still using GroupWise for email?)
Unwarranted assumptions about any profession to me seems counter productive. Thanks, Kathy, for making me think about this a bit...