Reflective Teaching Day 30: If I weren’t afraid…

What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren’t afraid?

I can’t believe we’re already at the end of September! It seems like this 30 day challenge (and the school year!) have just begun! And what a prompt to end on!

I made a lot of changes this year that I certainly wouldn’t have done if I had been afraid. In the past, making changes was the scary part for me, but it came to the point that my students’ performance simply wasn’t good enough, and I was so fed up with it that I couldn’t keep going the way I had been. So I overcame a great deal of fear and trepidation and made some huge changes. Has everything been perfect and awesome? Certainly not. Have I second-guessed whether or not I’m doing the right thing? Absolutely. But ultimately, I think I’m doing it right.

But the question isn’t when have I overcome fear, it’s what would I do if I weren’t afraid. So what am I afraid of?

Let’s see, this might be a little silly, but here’s the first thing that comes to mind: If I weren’t afraid (of cheating) I would go entirely paperless. In fact, this was my original plan. I got a class set of iPads with wireless keyboards this year, and I was determined to have all writing assignments done on the iPads and turned in via Google Drive. But then, during my pre-test of all things, a kid cheated and used Google Translate. Since I haven’t yet figured out a way to keep that from happening, major writing assignments now happen on paper. I still use the iPads and Google Drive for speaking assignments and lots of creative projects, but I’m kind of afraid to try again with the writing.

Okay, that’s not the deep, inspiring, terrifying fear that other teachers have written about today. But honestly, I think that the “fear” stage of my teaching is over – at least for now! – and I’m really in the “figuring it out” mode. Will something come along someday that will scare me into inaction? I’m sure. But right now, I’m in a place of taking chances and seeing how things go. The world isn’t perfect. My district isn’t perfect. My classroom isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. But I’m learning. I have so many questions, and some of the questions are certainly so big and all-changing that they’re scary, but after all the things I changed this year, I just can’t convince myself to be afraid of making changes right now.
And that’s it. The 30 day challenge is over. Congratulations to all the teachers who’ve taken the challenge to reflect on our practices and think about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. Reflection doesn’t have to stop now; keep the posts and thoughts coming!

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