On a conference call today.
Heard that some of the participants on a project I’m working on are waiting to see what the entire scope of the project needs to look like before they jump in and try something new in their classrooms.
The problem is, that we’ve recruited these participants for this project because they’re pretty darned good teachers. We trust their judgment and their ability to take what they’ve done and fiddle with it, possibly even drastically change it up, in response to some of the ideas we’re experimenting and playing with. We also trust that their judgment and professionalism will help them to make good decisions when it comes to classroom changes.
In fact, we’re certain the entire project will fail if these participants, ninth grade teachers in northern Colorado, don’t take some risks in their classroom.
Tinkering with the seating arrangements, this isn’t.
It pains me that the climate in schools is so risk-averse and so anti-teacher that teachers who are really good at what they do are also hesitant to lean in to something different – for so many reasons.
And I can see myself in these teachers, as I think about projects where I’m not doing much at the moment, waiting for something else to happen before I make an attempt to try something new, big, or different. Or I’m just not willing to face the resistance to change, from administrative, social, or political forces.
And I want to remind those teachers, and myself, that you can’t ever be brave if you’re not in a place where bravery is required.
I want to remind myself of this:
So what of all the talk of what might happen, of mistakes that could be made, of errors and missteps and failures imagined? It might be, just might be, that when we give folks opportunity to do well, to dream big, to step forward and offer something big, bigger than we knew we could, to dream hard for something better and more beautiful than we knew we could be, well, maybe we can.
We’re all struggling the best we can to do right by children, and the conflict sometimes is not because we don’t all want to succeed, but it’s because we’re afraid we might. And when we stumble, it’s not because we don’t mean well, but because we get stuck on the way to greatness. Distracted, even.
But we can do hard things. Of course we can do hard things. Look at how far we’ve come.
That’s what I’ll bet on. On hope. The hope that we can be better. Let’s do good. Let’s bet on someone being great.
And let’s let that someone be us.
If you don’t ever face the scary things, you can’t ever work on being brave. And being brave, even just a little bit and even just a little of the time, is so important.
So, to you, and to me – Let’s try.