Yesterday I wrote a bit about what it means to make change, and how voice, and giving of voice, is a tremendous factor in making change happen.
As I wrote that post yesterday, I kept thinking about the term “change agent” and began to wonder what a “change agent” really is.
For me, I get frustrated with what becomes educational jargon, or “edubabble” as I sometimes refer to it. We start using terms that become commonplace, but then don’t take the time to make sure everyone agrees on what those terms mean.
In my mind, “change agent” is one of those words/phrases. We refer to change agents without really speaking about what those change agents do, how they do it, or why they do it. We sometimes assume that anybody who wants to make change is a “change agent” and while that might be okay in theory, it doesn’t really provide us with any useful information on what someone who is an agent of change really does.
So, I’ve started to step away from using terms like “change agent” because I feel that they don’t really provide us with any details on what they really stand for. In my humble opinion, these are phrases that don’t really have meaning, and if we don’t know what they mean, how can we apply them with any fidelity?
And yet, in education, we are always looking for a solve, so phrases like “change agent” become very popular. They sound great, and we all want to be fit into the category of these phrases, but often, in these cases, we spend more time talking about how we’re “change agents” then actually working to make the change. It is almost like we get captivated by the label, rather than captivated by the “how-to.”
I’m not a “change agent”. Instead, I’m someone who is constantly struggling to change my practice, and help others change their own. I don’t need to wear a label to feel good about this. In fact, more often than not, I don’t feel good about change; I feel conflicted, because it isn’t easy for me, and there are many times when I simply don’t want to move from the status quo. So, instead of looking for great labels in our profession, we should put all our effort into helping write the instruction manual to getting better at what we do. There is never enough time to begin with. Shouldn’t we spend it trying and failing (and sometimes succeeding) in making change, rather than talking about the label or moniker we most want to wear?