The Principal's Challenge

Wenger's notions of identity and community intertwine when I think of my experiences as a new teacher. When I was a first-year teacher, I remember the difficulties of entering my new school's community. Tension existed between the "veterans" and the "rookies." On page 157, Wenger discussions the concerns a newcomer has when entering a new community and the challenges that both the established and the entering members have as membership in the community changes. Wenger says that, "They (old-timers or veterans) might thus welcome the new potentials afforded by new generations who are less hostage to the past," but they also can frown upon the extreme energy, perceived lack of competence, and naivety that rookies bring to the job. This interaction shapes identities of both parties, but I also want to throw in another term from our course (dare I say the "d" word) design. This tension has design implications for schools and more particularly building principals who are charged with building community (of practice) with their staff members. How does (or should) a principal recognize the complex interplay of community and identity when crafting (designing) the interactions necessary to create the desired community (of practice)?