Risky Education #IMMOOC Week 2

Risk. Do you rush into risk or retreat from risk?

Toe dipper or dive right in?

Risk is change. Change is scary. Fear causes us to do weird things.

I will never forget the day towards the end of my student teaching experience I decided to take a risk and do something CUH-RAY-ZEEE as a lesson plan my cooperating teacher would be observing me on. She and I had already talked. She knew what I was doing and why I was choosing to do it. It was a social studies class. We were struggling with teamwork. I was willing to get out of the box and into a knot.

You know. The Human Knot team-building activity. With 5th graders. Behind closed doors.

But of course, the door opened.

In walked an administrator wanting to observe me for a position in their building. A high school English position. One I wanted.

The cooperating teacher spoke quietly to him, took her copy of my lesson plan and ran to the copier, and handed a copy to him when she came running back.

Kids fell down. Kids cried. Kids quit. Kids told me how stupid this activity was.

I wanted to sit down and cry with them.

And then it was over.

With energy and interest I was asked how often I was a risk-taker. What would I be willing to do in a high school English classroom to make sure students were internalizing the skills? Are all of your lesson plans this detailed and specific?

That lesson was a flop. My reflection on it was not positive. However, I took a risk with a specific intended outcome. I did it for all the right reasons. I planned and prepared down to minute details. And those two observing had nothing but great things to say about the lesson.

That experience didn’t take away my willingness to be a risk-taker. I do the same things in an admin position now.

I call it getting creative with consequences. The box isn’t one size fits all. When we look closely we see that the box doesn’t even fit the majority. We’re just comfortable with the firm walls the box provides.

The box is truly a detriment to our students and society. The world is fluid, flexible, and a whole lot like that human knot.


This post is in response to week 2 of #IMMOOC.

You can find the week 1 post at Intentionally Brave.