Every day, we ask our students to come into our classrooms and try new things. We ask them to stand in front of their peers and speak, or answer a question on freshly learned topics or throw them into new methods of instruction which are far from the safety of pencil and paper activities. Our classrooms house intimidation!
I once read about a 30+ year veteran teacher who started a new activity every September. She believed it was a way to remind herself about the challenges of being a student. She reasoned that risk taking is hard and learning something new, although exciting, is really intimidating.
I love the image of a grey-haired woman stepping over the chrome engine of a Harley on her first ride, banging away at a drum lesson or leaping into a jazz dance class. She is risk taking. She giving up control. She is experiencing. She lets her self leave her comfort zone and head “where the magic happens.”
Unfortunately, many teachers forget what it’s like to take risks. We become at ease with the topics we cover (our students always seem so shocked, “how do you know all this?” and the answer is often, “I’ve taught it a lot”). We make excuses for why we won’t or can’t learn something new.
Teachers can be intimidated by technology. There are so many variables in selecting iPad, interactive whiteboard, web activity, collaboration, Google Apps etc. Then, we have to worry about managing those activities once we’ve created them.
My challenge to you: pick something. If it fails? Try again. Do something differently. You’ll get another crack at it in the future. What is there to lose?
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Let your students guide you. Let the students who know their way around reddit or tumblr show you how to find .gifs or embed videos. Enjoy being a student. Use the classtime to develop a skill or learn a new web too.