As I’m beginning my ninth year teaching, I’m realizing that starting something new is, in fact, nothing new. Every year there are new educational initiatives, new technologies, new curriculum and new expectations. We are always starting something new. In some ways it can be frustrating – adapting to new standards, modifying old curriculum and managing new technologies is time consuming and sometimes takes away from why we became teachers – to help students. However, to help prepare students for an ever-changing, 21st Century we have to be constantly willing to start something new.

I ventured into the online world with rambling posts about various topics, starting something out of my comfort zone. Every day I challenge my students to start something – a cultural movement, an unfamiliar act, a kind gesture. I challenge my students to break out of their comfort zones. There’s a great TED Talk from Charlie Todd titled “The Shared Experience of Absurdity.”

I show this video to my students because it’s important for them to understand it’s OK to stretch themselves beyond their limits and test uncomfortable waters. It’s what helps them grow.

I’m also showing this video to 120+ English teachers around the state this weekend at our annual North Dakota Council of Teachers of English conference (sounds exciting, I know). I’ve been assigned a session that is meant to “inspire” teachers. This is definitely out of my comfort zone as I don’t feel quite qualified to inspire anyone. However, as I covered in my last post, I have been inspired. I’m hoping that by sharing those experiences (as well as some videos), teachers will leave the session inspired and refreshed.

It’s hard to know how inspirational I can be for my peers. The important thing is that I accept the challenge in hopes of motivating my students to do the same.

Stay tuned for:
NDCTE presentation recap (7/29/14)

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