Be Intentional: Why Slow Change is Good for You

Be Intentional: Why Slow Change is Good for You | When changing something (your library space, your classroom, your life) quick, sudden change can be jarring. Being slow, deliberate and intentional can have power and make changes longer lasting.

I was a media specialist at my previous school for seven years.  A TON of things changed there during that time.  But they didn’t happen overnight.  I built things up piece by piece.  I experimented and tried new things.  There were plenty of failures, to be sure.  But there were also great successes that my students got to share in.  Now that I’m at a new school, it’s so tempting to take all that I learned over those seven years and apply it immediately.  But I’m not.  Here’s why.

Learning to be intentional with change

Not every single thing that worked at my previous school will work at my new one.  It’s a completely different population of students with a different school culture.  There’s a lot of groundwork I need to lay first.  There’s a lot of things that I need to learn.  Many changes need to be made to the overall library program itself before I start doing things like re-arranging all the furniture, building a makerspace and starting up tons of new programs.

I have been reading and listening to just about everything I can find by the Minimalists lately. (Read Everything That Remains first to get their backstory, then read Minimalism and Essential).  One of the things they talk about over and over again is the importance of living with intentionality.  Of thinking through your decisions carefully and thoughtfully.  In my new library space, I am aiming to be intentional with every change I make.

Starting Small

Right now, I starting small, making micro-changes.  I’m getting to know my students and teachers.  I’ve started up book clubs with the middle school and upper school, where I can get to know my students even better.  I’m helping support the VR club and VR lab that was already being established before I came in.  Each week I’m visiting teachers’ classrooms, going to assemblies, and constantly working to absorb the school culture.  I’m talking to students, teachers, parents, asking them questions.  I sent out a digital survey about the perception of the library and library program.  I’m doing a lot of listening.

I’ve been making small changes.  Weeding titles to create room to display new books.  Putting together a Banned Books Week display.  Adding in a table from storage to see how students and teachers use it.  As I make each change, I observe what happens.  And then I decide where to go from there.

Slow and Steady

A few months ago, I wrote about the power of slowing down and how I’ve learned that I need to not try to do ALL the things.  It’s taken me some time, but I feel like I’m getting there.  Changing things too quickly would be unwise, at least for me, right now.  It would be startling, disruptive.  It wouldn’t be considerate of all the factors and people involved.  Slow change is purposeful.  Slow change will last.

What slow changes have you made this year?  What does being intentional with your space look like to you?

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Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.

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