A Guest Blog Post by Jeanne Muzi
Being a teacher takes knowledge, passion, energy, compassion, creativity… the list goes on and on. But without question, committing to be an educator and stepping into a classroom, starting a new school year, meeting, inspiring and teaching students, takes courage. To begin charting a course of exploration and discovery across curriculum, relationships, projects, questions and wonderings, as well as all the other highs and lows that punctuate the months of growth and change that mark our students, requires us to be courageous.
So when I do summer workshops or conferences, and the conversations turn to getting ready for the new school year, my advice is always the same to new and veteran teachers: Be brave.
There is no question that experience serves us well as educators…but we should never fall into the “comfort trap.” Our instructional choices and decisions should make us (and our students) excited, driven to problem solve and motivated to try new ideas. We can never be on autopilot. We must serve as models for our students so they know that in order to learn, stretch and grow, we must be ready everyday…to try an original approach…start something new…change a strategy…forge a fresh path…fly without a net…valiantly dare. It is also essential to show our students that bravery is not measured by crowns, medals, trophies and accolades but by scars, bruises, attempts and failures.
Courage is a cornerstone of teaching. Each and every day of a school year we are challenged to move students of all ages from a lack of knowledge to understanding, from confusion to clarity, from bewilderment to eureka! Those actions require a tremendous amount of courage and fortitude. That strength must permeate everything we do. We must be courageous in our conversations with students, families, colleagues and community members. We must speak out about what is best for learners, work to elevate our practice as well as our profession, and enthusiastically throw open our doors to collaborate with other educators. We must share ideas and ask for feedback. We must be bold…determined…fearless.
So as we sharpen pencils, fill folders, type up student lists and welcome our students back to school, we must take some time to reflect on what we want our new school year to be…for ourselves, our students, our schools and districts. We must look to push past our comfort zones and risk greatly, try new things and possibly, fall short. We must be brave.
By Jeanne Muzi (@MuziLearningLab)
Jeanne Muzi is the Elementary Enrichment Specialist/Gifted Education Teacher at Lawrence Township Public Schools in Lawrenceville, NJ. Her focus is on project based learning, higher order questioning and helping students develop creative problem solving skills. A former NJ State Teacher of the Year and NOAA Teacher at Sea, Jeanne has presented a wide range of workshops and professional learning experiences at schools, conferences, forums and conventions.