Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joys and Challenges...or should I say Challenges and Joys!

OK...I admit's totally true...I'm a self-professed nerd and geek and I LOVE it! I can't turn off my curiosity and zeal for finding and trying new ideas and activities with my students. I am an educator who is constantly trying out ideas (even on just my library aides), running ideas by others, and working to collaborate and improve student achievement and engagement.

I think conceptually, with PBL and design thinking at the forefront of my brain at ALL times. It is virtually impossible to turn it off and see things in reality, but these past couple of weeks, while I've seen some absolutely AMAZING innovative steps being taken, I've been forced to consider reality quite a few times. It's been extremely frustrating to think big only to be forced back to what to do...what to do? I feel like I've hit the wall of limitations and "inside the box" thinking one too many times and my creativity/innovation/idea making is crying out for attention !

I truly understand having to fulfill district and state requirements in education, but at the same time, my brain ponders the question..."What is best for my students?" Yes, they need to pass tests and improve their skills, but can't that be done using engaging, innovative activities? Do we as educators and classroom experience designers have to be the same as everyone else? Where is the balance between what is proven to work with others and innovative practices that move students forward and provide authentic real-world engagement that not only improves skills, but also requires more critical thinking, engagement and creativity from them?

I don't have the answer, and that bothers me to no end! 

So the hunt begins for answers...and one of the biggest joys of thinking big has to be the hunt. I've been stymied by reality, so what's the next step? Find ways to think big AND innovate within the boundaries (and then go beyond outside of class hours!!!). I'm on a hunt for a place to try some of the innovative ideas I have to help students better engage with their learning and begin to cultivate their own curiosity to learn and grow independently and within a community. I will hunt for opportunities to try new things - no matter how many baby steps I need to take - and work to improve my educational practices, my growth, and affect change for my students! Because in the end, as I read and learned from one of my eduheroes, Todd Nesloney, #KidsDeserveIt! They deserve my best each and every day and that involves THINKING BIG!!


  1. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE thinking big! I hope that after the thinking we engaged in today, you can think about small manageable steps to get you there. I totally appreciate your hunt for the balance - tried and true and innovation. I think JR spoke to that a bit today as she shared her journey so far this school year. From the Learning Commons you might find greater latitude with encouraging learners young and old to take risks and try new things. I wonder what insights teachers might be able to gain by observing students in your learning space...

    Keep troubleshooting and finding those "work-arounds." Learning and growing is messy and not a straight line.

  2. That little niggling feeling that we are "so close" is what keeps me going too! Sometimes I can't believe how far we have come, and then I look to the horizon and know we still have a way to go. Thanks for sharing your journey, can't wait to see more!