Monday, February 16, 2015

I know what my word is...

In response to a question posed by Mark Carbone, I have figured out what my word for 2015 is. I like the idea of choosing one word to focus on; something that makes me ask why I do what I do in my classroom, and professional practice.

Push. That's my word. This could be interpreted several ways; I don't mean the evil shove of a cold, steel hook as you stumble bound and gagged, heart thundering, terror-struck down a gangplank to circling sharks.

The push I want to consider is the insistent little voice that reminds me to just go ahead and try it. It's the nudge to go ahead and submit proposals to present at conferences; to overhaul units so kids create the content; to attempt a re-working of my current work flow to work smarter.

I want to pay closer attention to when I should push. When I find myself thinking "I've always done it like this" or "It worked fine last year..." that's the precise moment to consider a push in a new direction.

What stops me sometimes? Fear of failing in front of the students; looking incompetent in front of colleagues and peers, although I feel it less and less, the more I feel convinced that my new push is a good idea. Mark's word is 'model'. I can certainly model for students and colleagues that I'm trying something new; it may or may not work, but at least I tried something new.  Sometimes the push is hard, when previous leaps got me nowhere, or weren't widely accepted as successful. It just takes that one real fire-cracker of an idea, with positive impact on everyone involved, that excites me to keep trying. It's like getting that one sincere, heartfelt note from a parent telling expressing great appreciation for what I do- regardless of what happens that day, I'm in a confident, happy place, and can handle just about anything.

One day I won't need the affirmation from outside sources.  I will share my explorations regardless of outcome; I know I learn tremendously from colleagues and peers through their shared experiences; it's only right to share in return. My own gut instinct tells me if my push is a good idea or not. What matters to me is that I just keep gently pushing.

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