As I type this, it literally pains me… not because there is deep anguish over the words or phrases but because my black and blue hand still hurts from my encounter with our laundry room door.
Walking out of the laundry room with a basket in one hand, I swung the door so it would shut slowly behind me. And never one for doing things the easy way, I challenged myself to then turn the light switch off. As I reached across my body with my free hand, I fumbled at the switch a bit and it did not go off. Now outside the laundry room I reached back in to flick the switch again but the closing door had advanced further (much quicker than I expected I might add) and solid wood door collided with retracting hand… ouch!
In that moment I was calm, cool, collected and began to opine on how this related to education… or maybe not. After a few choice “inside my head” words (I couldn’t say anything out loud and prove to those upstairs how foolish I had been), I did finally reflect on how this incident applies to teaching and learning. And I realized one should never turn back towards a closing door.
Earlier in the year, I had posted about how the realities of the school year were squeezing some of the aspirations I had for changes. That students didn’t seem ready or willing to do new things and that assigning homework the old fashioned way seemed more pleasing to others. I wondered if it wasn’t time to jump ship and get back to the way “we always have done it”? But those educational practices doors were swinging shut. Did I really want to turn back to those areas being closed off?
Thankfully, I can say NO! While it was tough going (and still is in some ways), we stuck with the homework changes. We tried a different hyperdoc, implemented other tools and we’ve continued working more strategically and thinking more deeply in the different content areas. Technology infusion has increased. And my metaphorical teaching hand has not been left bruised and battered. My students are catching on to the type of effort and energy this new type of learning takes. They are shaping the way certain tools like Flipgrid and Google Classroom can/should be used for their success.
While it is beneficial, and actually crucial, to be reflective and to jettison ideas or strategies that are not effective as a teacher… it is also important to allow for time. Growth mindset requires a “not yet” type of thinking and I needed to apply that to changes being made. Everything wasn’t perfect (and likely never would be), but it was far more detrimental to turn back on those closing doors than to give time and space for the new to work itself out. I’m eager to see how the 2nd semester shapes up.