Today was my first day of school at Burlington High School. I woke up early, packed up my school bag, and left for Starbucks in the morning darkness and rain. I arrived at Starbucks before the door was unlocked. I waited patiently in my car listening to the radio and the raindrops. The clock struck 6am and a barista opened the lock on the door. I entered, ordered a large iced coffee with an add shot -otherwise known as a “Red Eye” – and left the store.
When I approached my car, I clicked the key fob and nothing happened. I clicked it again and nothing happened. The rain continued to fall as the subtle daylight started to peek through the night. I clicked again. Nothing happened. For a moment, I panicked. I could not get into my car unless this small piece of technology in my hand worked properly. More, I would have to call my brother, wake him up, and have him come over before work and open my house so I could get my spare key. Plus, I needed to be at work on the first day of school. The first day of school that included every student arriving with an iPad 2. It was imperative that I get there on time without delay.
I placed my coffee on the hood of my car and hit the fob twice on my hand. I clicked the fob again and it worked. My headlights flashed and the door was open. I was in my car and on my way to work.
On my way to work, I thought about what just happened. The simple moral to this story is that we will all encounter new challenges this school year that may cause us to panic and, on occasion, freak out. We may have a new mail system or a new device that will now be part of our school day. It may take us some time to learn it and use it effectively, but we must be patient. We must understand that with any innovation there will be hiccups and hurdles.
We may be using a new technology in our classroom and it may break down. We may be reading a new text and one student may have a page missing. Stay calm. Take a deep or subtle breath and work though this issue. Don’t panic and don’t just give up. Take some time to work through the problem and if it doesn’t work, be prepared to incorporate plan B. Think of all the progress we might have missed out on if our greatest innovators had panicked and given up on landing on the moon or curing diseases.
As educators we must be flexible and understand that everything we try may not work the first time, but the fact that we are trying something new is a positive. Educators should never be too comfortable with their classes from year to year. No matter how long we have been teaching, we should seek the best ways to make our classrooms engaging and relevant to our current students. This simple, patient attitude will give your students something exciting to experience and provide a dynamic learning environment for all involved.
Have a great school year everyone and share your hits and misses.