Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. -Jim Morrison
The number one rule in our kindergarten classroom is to Be Brave. This covers so many areas of life that it is an appropriate rule, and truly the only one we need. It is hard to be brave sometimes. It’s hard to speak up, step out, or stand alone.
A reader of this blog messaged me not long ago asking if it gets easier letting go and letting young students make choices in their learning. As a long time educator (like me), she shared concerns about letting children have that voice and choice in demonstrating their learning. I get it. Before iPads, I was afraid to let go. I mean…where is the control in that? I thought I needed to be in charge. Of Everything. After all, that was how I was taught and how I was taught to teach. iPads changed that. How can a technological device make such a dramatic change in philosophy? Perhaps I would be more accurate to say my students using iPads changed my thinking. Watching them use the iPad for creation, on their own, awakened me to new possibilities in learning. Yes, it was scary but what a difference it made.
Someone once said, “If you are the smartest person in the room, it’s time to find a new room.” How has your teaching changed in the last 4 years? If it hasn’t, why? Is it because it’s easier to do what you’ve always done? Is it because, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Is it because you just don’t have time/support/resources to make any changes? Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess is a popular approach to changing professional development to be engaging and interactive. It helps you kickstart your own creativity and make your classroom experience rich and engaging. He has a book on Amazon…worth the read! Another organization dedicated to ongoing learning for educators is Teach Like a Feral Pig. Their mission is for all educators to continually grow their “edutusks”. I still want one of their t-shirts! I often compare teaching to being a ninja. This site emphasizes several key traits that tie teaching and ninja behavior together (particularly the one about not ever going to the bathroom)…The ninja one is tongue in cheek (slightly) but the point is…stop making excuses and make changes! If you are stagnant, get a new PLN. Find a Twitter chat…if you are nervous, lurk and take in the conversation.
Start the new school year with inspiration, the willingness to make some changes, and be a pirate, a feral pig, a ninja…whatever! Just BE BRAVE!
Today we will do exciting new things! Let’s get to it!
Photo credit: Creative Commons