As an educator, you will already be affecting the lives of your students and helping to shape their futures. You’re not just responsible for their academic achievements, but also for helping them to understand the world as a whole. This is why it’s important to make sure that your place of work, whether that be a school, college, or other educational institution, is offering both students and faculty the right support throughout their time there. Keeping the curriculum and course programs relevant is essential to make sure your students are receiving the best education. However, awareness of current events, politics, and other social and economic issues should also be encouraged. If you’re concerned as an educator about how well these issues are being handled or would like to make changes at your school, here are some steps you can take.
If you’re a teacher or lecturer who would like to alter and refresh your course’s syllabus, start by asking other members of your department and see how many agree with you. Equally, if you want your college or school to get involved with more social activism in your community and beyond, you will need to identify how much support you will get from faculty and the board members to start these connections with outside groups. The more people who are interested in making the same changes that you are, the more likely it is to happen. Consider asking students, too, as their insight could be incredibly useful to you and your ability to make progress.
If you are interested in starting to forge new relationships between your educational institution and other groups in your community, you will need to reach out to them. Find out from the source what it is they will need from your college/school by way of support and if they’re even interested in teaming up with you in the first place. Once you have established how you can help these organizations, then you can start to work out how you can put these plans into action together.
One great way to make a change in an educational institution is to become a leader within the faculty. To do this, you may want to consider returning to your studies and achieve an EdD in leadership. The idea of taking time out to complete these courses might be off-putting, but luckily there are plenty of online EdD programs available for those who want to continue working. Completing an educational leadership program could help to enhance your career progression and open doors to roles such as chief academic officer, social and community service manager, education administrator, or training and development. All of these positions are fantastic places to be if you want to take control and start implementing changes in your educational institute and beyond.
Starting groups among faculty and students is another route you could take to start shaking things up a bit. These groups could be based around study or for a love of something such as literature, for example, if you’re trying to encourage students to come together and broaden their knowledge. Alternatively, you might want to bring people together to focus on social issues and current affairs, teaching students about activism and how to get involved with their local community. When these groups meet, you could invite guest speakers to join and share their knowledge with students and faculty members in attendance. This is particularly useful if you have partnered up with a local organization.
Ask for Help
Part of starting a discussion with faculty members about making changes is asking for help. You will need their support to proceed with arguing your case for these changes to the curriculum or partnerships with outside organizations. However, it is also important to remember to ask for help after this initial phase, and once these changes are beginning to take place. If you are altering a course syllabus, for a while, it could be a trial and error approach, which can become stressful. The same applies when you’re trying to establish new groups or partnerships. You might need to ask for funding, more faculty members to help, and so on. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or you might struggle to implement these changes alone.
You can’t make changes if you haven’t done your research. Look at different methods of learning that are being taught in educational institutes around the globe and identify those that appear to be the most successful. What is available to students who have special education needs? What about students from underprivileged backgrounds? Is your place of work offering as much as it can to these demographics? Is that something that needs changing? How does your school/college’s current curriculum compare to others in the country? All of these questions should be asked, and more, and they should be a focal point of your research when trying to plot how you can make a difference to both faculty and students at your school. Attend conferences, seminars, and other events to learn more about these issues and consider getting in touch with other academics and experts to get their advice.
Finally, remember that you will have to present your case for change to faculty members and possibly even more senior members of the school board. To convince them to back your campaign for a change, you will need to be confident when discussing this with them. Make sure you’re prepared with research and that you have proof of support from your colleagues. This will help you feel more assertive when making your presentations to these groups. Furthermore, when you are running these groups or leading teams in these directions, you will need to be confident in your skills as a leader.
It might feel like an ongoing battle at times, but once you have finally achieved your goals and can see the difference you have made at your educational institution, it will feel amazing. It’s important to keep asking questions, developing ideas, and keep progressing, especially in education. Think about how you can use some of the suggestions above to achieve your goals as an educator, and make some positive changes for both students and faculty members alike.