I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our future. I mean the future of our great nation and even the human race. To be quite honest, sometimes it worries me. It also excites me and gives me great hope. I think if that hope is going to rise up and be effective though, it’s going to need a lot of assistance from great teachers like you. Technology, information and automation are already pervasive and becoming an even bigger thing each day. As educators we should really be mindful of this and ask ourselves, how we are preparing our students to deal with this world. Will they be able use the technology effectively? Will they be able to filter information to decide what is harmful and what is useful and ? Will they struggle with chronic unemployment because they’re replaced by technology and automation or will they be able to create value that will generate a living income? I am optimistic because I believe most educators are making a huge difference to help make kids ready to thrive, but I also believe that the best never rest. Let’s look at some areas to strive for improvement.
In reading researching what makes high achievers better, I discovered a lot of commonalities. There are many traits successful people possess, but I am only going to look at three for now.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I read that world-champion big wave surfer Nic Lamb once said, “No one grows from being in their comfort zone.” I guess you have to have that attitude when a wave big enough to crush and drown you is crashing down around you. I also like the phrase “restless dissatisfaction”. It indicates a willingness to continuously find ways to improve. I think sometimes teachers in schools tend settle into routines, of worksheets, text books (or computer programs), and other educational materials that don’t require any extra work beyond running copies or logging students in. Students deserve more.
- Focus a lot more and learning and a lot less on mistakes. If you aren’t willing to take risks and make mistakes how will you expect your students to do the same? If you try something the first time and it works perfect that’s great! But if you try something the first time and fail, that may even be better. You are given an opportunity to learn and grow each time you make a mistake. Thomas Edison, the great inventor, allegedly said, “I didn’t fail I just found a ten thousand ways it wouldn’t work.” As teachers we know that learning is messy and mistakes play a big part in the process. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to try something, it will never come.
- View challenge and change in a positive light. We live in an era of rapidly accelerating change and it can’t be stopped. Will you embrace change or fear it? Your students will follow your lead. When you smile and figure out ways to adapt you are modeling positive character traits for your students. View. challenges as an opportunities for growth. Embrace change or just hang on for dear life!
I hope these words serve to inspire you to try something new. If you’re willing to take the risk but would like some help and support I would love to work alongside you as your coach and partner in improvement.
As always, live well and teach well,
Find me on Twitter @texteacher