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By Fiona Wallis, Curriculum & Faculty Developer 

“Change happens but growth is optional. Choose wisely.” 

ths1When we think about growth and change, Clark’s quote rings true. Change is necessary and unavoidable. It maybe a sudden shift or a longer process, but we all experience change in our lives. Whether it’s a new job, becoming parents or a friend leaving town, change is inevitable. We might even feel the need to intentionally invoke purposeful change in our lives. The question is, does change automatically result in real growth and development? 

There are many changes underway at The Harbour School. New teachers, schedules, students and environments. A new school building and identity has been created, from timber, nails and paint, to embody a new school and vision for the future. There is and has been much to celebrate. Having spent the past few weeks in our two THS campuses, it’s obvious that there is a captivating energy, busy optimism, determination to be ready, and a promise of exciting times to come. 

But what are the real effects of this kind of substantial change and does it lead to growth in an educational mindset for our staff and our students? 

ths2Research into the psychology of change indicates that whether change be imposed or voluntary it often leads to some anxiety, struggle and a sense of loss before we are able to move forward and grow. Many who are going through radical changes in their work experience some uncertainty … the feelings of being at sea, being lost and needing to process more information than they can handle.

After the initial euphoria, champagne and congratulations comes the reality that we are in the midst of a change process, a roller coaster of new beginnings, and a focus on a new vision for the future. Along with the excitement and energy, may come some anxiety and a slight sadness for what we have left behind, comparable to when we leave an old house and its memories, for a brighter and more modern alternative. 


One thing is certain. Without change there can never be real growth. 

The process of change will prepare us for growth. The motivation, commitment, passion and belief that our teachers find every day will result in a sense of mastery, accomplishment and professional development. Those initial conservative impulses will not stifle real growth and once skills are consolidated and energy revitalised, individuals will begin to feel that they can master something new. Teachers and students have exhibited resilience, perseverance and understanding over the past weeks and many are already reaching personal goals, even searching for new ones.

If you are embracing the new changes, feeling comfortable with your new environment and inspired to surge forwards with new and creative ideas, that’s wonderful. Welcome to the future! 


If you are still adjusting to your new reality, feeling a little uncertain and displaced, not quite ready to move on just yet, that’s fine too. Change does not immediately result in growth, but without doubt it provides us with the opportunity and motivation to achieve it, and we will.


Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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