Dear Educator: You’re Doing It Wrong

So You Think You Can Stop Me and Spit in My Eye

It takes a certain kind of person to be innovative. Having the passion and conviction to follow through, to take the risk despite the critics and road blocks, is tough. The old saying, If it were easy, everybody would be doing it, still holds true today. It isn’t easy to hear over and over again that you are doing it wrong. It won’t work. You are making a mistake. The fact is though, if we never break from the status quo to try something out of the norm, we are left with sameness and miss out on amazingness.

So You Think You Can Love Me and Leave Me To Die

Freddy Mercury of Queen knew this. He had the idea for a song that would be unlike anything being produced by bands in 1975. He and the rest of Queen fought pushback from various executives who were convinced a song that was almost 6 minutes long would never be played on the radio. They fought pushback from other musicians who said the same thing. Radio stations would never play it. Had Queen listened to the naysayers, we would never have heard their epic and record smashing song, Bohemian Rhapsody, today. (1)

Oh Baby Can’t Do This To Me Baby

Like Freddy Mercury, we’ve all heard the naysayers. You can’t possibly teach without the textbook. Your students aren’t learning if they don’t have two hours of homework every night. What do you mean you don’t have desks? Your students can’t possibly learn anything in that noisy classroom of yours. Students won’t ever learn responsibility if you accept their late work. You must be an easy teacher if you allow students to retake tests. Even when our critics don’t say these types of things to our faces, we see the whispers and imagine them, and the looks from our coworkers confirm it. The thing is, though, our passion and conviction of innovation to better the learning experience for our students pushes us past the critics. It must.

Just Gotta Get Out Just Gotta Get Right Outta Here

As testing season is upon us, now is the time to consider innovating within your practice. One of the best times to take risks is after testing, when many teachers are on autopilot. The pressures of the year are dwindling, so look for better ways to empower students. Explore new tech tools that can help activate student voice. Take a risk and model it for your students. Help them see that failure is a large part of learning. Try those hooks from Teach Like A Pirate that you were too busy or worried or just never found time to try during the school year and grow your creative muscle. Try visual note taking or sketchnotes with your students. Take a risk. Be creative. Blaze your own trail.

Heading titles are partial lyrics from Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
  1. “Bohemian rhapsody celebrates 40 YEARS: 19 things you didn’t know about the Queen anthem”. Express Online. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2016.

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