Since the beginning of "school", students have been expected to sit quietly, listen to the teacher lecture for minutes, if not hours at a time, and to perform as if they are adults.
This is not to say that there is not any validity in teaching students these skills appropriately, having high expectations, and modeling adult leadership. Yet, here is where the problem lies: Students are not robots or machines. They are children who are growing up in the world we live in today, not the years WE grew up in.
Therefore, let's teach to the students we see in front of us now, not to the student we know within ourselves.
This moment and realization clicked in my mind one day as I was teaching. I recall giving advice to a student: "Be a risk taker. You are safe here. It is OKAY to to make errors. I am encouraging you to try and make mistakes so you learn from them. "
The second those words left me,...an odd moment of realization filtered through my brain. It occurred to me in that moment that the advice I just gave a student, is GREAT advice, not only for students, but for teachers, and myself.
We too often feel that we need to be "perfect" (if there is EVEN such a thing). That if we tried something new in our daily lessons that did not work that we could be ultimately failing our students. Unfortunately, this mindset breeds fear, NOT change or success for ourselves or our student body.
Needless to say, never, I mean NEVER, be afraid to try something innovative... Even if you have absolutely no idea whether or not it will work for you or your students. Sometimes the best ideas are built upon failure. That is where innovation lies.
Each day, see the students in front of you for who THEY are. By modeling risk taker ideologies, we are showing the students that they can follow our lead. They are changing each day, shouldn't we?