I’m continually trying to make choices that put me against my own comfort zone. As long as you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing. -Ashton Kutcher
I return to school in 7 days. Recently, I was asked to mentor a new teacher hired on my grade level. My plan was to meet her at school and go over the important things she would need to know to get started. I went to school the day before our meeting and moved my furniture and set up my classroom. There was no way I was going to be able to sit in the chaos of jumbled furniture and plan with her. I guess you can say I have high organizational needs. My brain functions better when my environment is in order.
While we have different ways we approach things, whether it’s our classrooms, our homes, a new task, we all have a comfort zone in which we operate. Our students are no different. As I prepare for a new class of spunky 5 year olds, I am looking forward to watching them learn and grow. As educators, we have to stretch ourselves and step outside of our comfort zones in order to innovate. In order to make a little magic. There is tremendous enthusiasm for iPads and other technologies in education and it’s definitely part of learning’s future. The opportunity to share information, collaborate around the world, to consume endless amounts of content and get access to information anywhere, anytime, anyplace, is a game changer that fundamentally will have a huge role in the future of the way learning takes place.
Ironically, using iPads is not out of the comfort zone of our students. They come in ready and excited to get started. Part of good teaching is staying a little ahead of the game. Having a plan for implementation, and yet, allowing students to have the freedom to stretch and create is necessary for true success. Teachers are good at planning….but not all are comfortable letting go and giving kids time to figure things out themselves. For some, it’s threatening when students know more than they do. The new Common Core State Standards stress the importance of student engagement in the whole brain activity of creative problem solving.
As we prepare for a brand new year, I’m thinking about how I can stretch myself and step out of my comfort zone a little. I’m looking to make a little magic. With the iPads, the possibilities are endless. Are you willing to stretch with me?
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