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And We Shall Morph Again!

Voice of ExperienceEach week, an educator takes a stand or shares an Aha! moment in the Education World Voice of Experience series. This week, as she starts a new teaching job, educator Brenda Dyck reflects on all the times she has had to morph as an educator. She has transformed from a by-the-book early elementary teacher to a tech-savvy teacher of middle school gifted students. Change can be a good thing, Dyck concludes. Included: Join a discussion about how you have handled change in your teaching career.

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. -- Nelson Mandela

It's September, and once again I find myself thinking back to my first year as a teacher. I can picture the dress I wore on the first day of school and even the faces of the students who were in my first class. Highlights from that first year come to mind, along with the challenges that came amidst learning everything for the first time. Now, 25 years later, it occurs to me that I don't feel a whole lot different this September than I did that first September. Once again, I am starting a new teaching position, one that will require me to transform into yet another form of educator.


The ability to morph is one of the key skill sets needed by educators as they adjust to the ongoing expectations of their profession. Over the years, I've had to reinvent myself to match the surroundings in which I have taught. I've changed from

  • a lower elementary teacher to a middle school teacher
  • a core classroom teacher to a music and art specialist
  • a public school teacher to a private school teacher
  • a teacher of phonics to a whole-language teacher
  • a math teacher who went by the book to a math teacher who employed manipulatives and centers
  • a technology-illiterate educator to a technology integration specialist.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of leaving my comfort zone not only in terms of pedagogy but also in terms of my cultural understanding when I taught at an Orthodox Jewish school. There, my new learning encompassed religious tradition and cultural distinctiveness. At times, I felt like a stranger in a strange land, but it was in there that I came to realize that I could function in a strange land and be happy doing it.

This fall, my teaching role will be transformed once again as I become a teacher/cybrarian in a school for gifted students. Although this is once again unfamiliar territory, I look forward to seeing what new teaching form I will become in this different place. It's morphing time again!


Lessons Learned While Morphing

Following are a handful of the lessons Brenda Dyck has learned from morphing:

  • There are other ways of doing things. Sometimes the new way is even better than the old way.
  • Ask many questions. You will develop inquisitiveness and humility.
  • Change can empower you to alter what you don't like.
  • There is a thrill in seeing a new part of you evolve, regardless of your age.
  • Change will keep you growing, moving and interested.
  • It is the act of morphing that equips you with skills and confidence for the next change you will undertake.
  • Morphing is a natural part of life.


Article by Brenda Dyck
Education World®
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Updated 08/02/2005