Last week’s topic: Describe a time where you as an educator took a risk in your classroom, and it totally paid off. Or, completely backfired.
Since I’ve been out of the classroom for five years, my most relevant examples come from teaching teachers.
As a former classroom teacher, I can attest to the fact that many of the lesson plans you create do not go as according to plan. Students do not follow a plan. Learning does not follow a plan. So, as educators, we have to be flexible. We have to be able to make amends to plans. By being flexible, we are taking risks.
Disclaimer: One educator’s comfort zone is another’s risk. It’s critical to encourage, not judge, risks. Risks do not look the same for all.
Two years ago, I took a huge risk by starting the RRISD Google Ninja Academy. No one had done it before. We did not have funding. Our staff was unfamiliar with big tech conferences. I had never run a conference before. I had no experience. The only thing I had was a love for learning and a drive to bring in more high-tech conferences and exposure to our staff.
The result: a full-day event of nearly 500 educators from around the state learning and sharing. It was a huge success.
However, not all risks I take are successful initially. I took a risk in starting App-y Hour for our high school teachers. I dedicated time every Wednesday morning to teaching fun topics for teachers. The result: only two people ever showed up.
So, after two months, I changed it. I decided to hold conference hours for teachers. I had our students lead 30 minute trainings for teachers on topics the students deemed important. The result: higher participation and more change resulting from trainings.
Risks are important, but not as important as the changes you make as a result of those risks. Taking the risk is the first step – however big or small the risk is. The second, larger step, is making changes as a result of either a positive risk or a less-successful risk.
Take a risk – big or small. Then, follow-through. The follow-through is the most important step in making change and improving.