16 Ways to Shed an "Old School" Mentality

Updated: May 10

I'm currently reading It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work. This book does an excellent job of discussing how the landscape of business has changed and how companies must be willing to adjust if their goal is to create a workplace culture that breeds sustained success.


This book inspired me to reflect on the current status in our schools. Similar to businesses, schools must also be willing to adapt if they want to produce an environment that generates high levels of student learning.


Below are 15 examples of how schools must shed an "old school" mentality and embrace new ways of doing business:

Old School: My job as a teacher is to hand out homework and assign grades

New School: My job as a teacher is to ensure all students succeed in my class

Old School: Decisions are made behind closed doors by a few select individuals

New School: Decisions are made in the open by a shared pool of staff members

Old School: Staff members should be questioned when they take personal leave

New School: Staff members should be encouraged to take personal leave

Old School: My administrator is a disciplinarian who manages from the office

New School: My administrator is a lead learner who is visible in classrooms

Old School: Transparency will expose weaknesses and flaws to the community

New School: Transparency will increase trust and support from the community

Old School: Toxic employees are avoided and transferred into other positions

New School: Toxic employees are addressed and eliminated from the organization

Old School: Administrators focus on pressing issues such as teacher attire

New School: Administrators focus on pressing issues, not teacher attire

Old School: When one person abuses a rule, a new district-wide policy is written

New School: When one person abuses a rule, that one person is addressed

Old School: Support staff do not need to be included because they are not teachers

New School: Support staff need to be included because they are vital to school success

Old School: Content is more important than building relationships with students

New School: Content does not matter if there are no relationships with students

Old School: Students are given only one chance to demonstrate content mastery

New School: Students are given multiple chances to demonstrate content mastery

Old School: Staff members are disciplined for arriving to work late or leaving early

New School: Staff members are trusted and treated as professionals at all times

Old School: Teachers purchase basic classroom supplies with their own money

New School: Teachers purchase basic classroom supplies with the school's money

Old School: Promotions are given to people who have an "in" with school leadership

New School: Promotions are given to people who prove they can get the job done

Old School: Limiting positive feedback motivates staff to work harder

New School: Limiting positive feedback motivates staff to work in another district

Old School: Schools are judged on a single assessment given one time a year

New School: Schools are judged on multiple data points over a period of time


Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Jared Smith LLC.  Specializing in Leadership, Education, and Personal Growth.