In college, during our training and courses, many of us were programmed to be regimented to create our lesson plans, to book our calendars, and to fulfill what we have written down in that tiny lesson plan box, no matter what.
Today is different. Lesson plans are not just a box; they are life-sized. We aim to reach the whole child, not just the content. We see outside the curriculum and look into how we can help all students, all teachers, and all people.
Additionally, we continue to ask kids to be risk takers. Teachers across the nation are asking students “to be brave” and to “try new things” regularly, which is remarkable. But, I often wonder how often we trust ourselves as adults to adhere to the same advice?
How often are we jumping into the unknown, by choice?
How are we sharing our experiences of risk-taking with students?
How regularly do we authentically model being brave with our students?
I ask those three questions above to myself on a very regular basis, especially during moments when I hesitate to take risks.
For our students to be willing to be brave, I think all of us, each of us, need to find those moments to live it as adults FIRST. We cannot have the cart before the horse.
Yet, if we were honest with ourselves, the thought of “jumping into the unknown” sometimes feels uncomfortable and unsettling to us. When we have these moments of discomfort, we have to remember that our students can feel the same exact way in similar circumstances.
The regimented part of us wants our day to fall into place as we see in our head. It gives us a sense of ownership, control, and success. But, if we always want to control the day, without embracing the unexpected, we will miss out on what life is all about.
The most rewarding outcomes will never meet us where we are if we do not set foot in the unexplored territories. As Steve Harvey eloquently says (when discussing success), “If you want to be successful, you have to jump, there is no way around it. When you jump, I can assure you that your parachute will not open right away. But, if you not jump, your parachute will never open. If you are safe, you will never soar.”
Truth: We may not always jump into the unknown; Sometimes, it may just be a slow step forward. Our direction is more important than pace and what is even more important than pace is patience. Whether we choose to walk, run, or jump into the unknown, we may not feel the most confident. But, if our hearts are centered in a good place, we can rest assured that our parachutes will soar.