Breaking free of tradition is tough. Going out on a limb and stretching our wings can be paralyzing. New is sometimes scary. During the past three years of my educational career I have watched educators attempt amazing feats. Some of these endeavors have soared, others have not. Is it wrong to try new and innovative teaching techniques only to see them fail? My belief is a solid and resounding NO!
I have seen teachers who self-admittedly had basic computer skills, who professed technology in my classroom “is a clipboard and stopwatch,” and teachers who feared technology entering their classroom environment taking risks, venturing into technology integration, and allowing their students to take the wheel and drive on their path to learning.
Sure projects flop, lessons tank, and the unexpected happens. Nothing is ever perfect, but sometimes those risks result in the perfectly unexpected! The lesson the kids love, the project that sets the bar for all the others, the student who sends you a letter 12 years later saying how much your classroom and you meant to him/her.
Take a risk, try something new, don’t be afraid to not know the outcomes! Some of the best moments in our classrooms are the ones that transpire quite by accident. Call them teachable moments, call them accidental blessings, call them transcended plans— whatever they may be these are the moments that make kids remember!
In the spirit of Teacher Appreciation Week, let me take a moment to appreciate the educators I work with daily. I appreciate their efforts toward integrating technology, their risk taking, and their flexibility. I am glad that time, tech glitches, and testing aren’t excuses wielded as shields against change. It is my fervent hope that they never pick up these crutches and continue to take risks in order to further their instruction and students’ learning long after this position is gone.