One of the main reasons that I went into teaching was that teaching offered the opportunity to face so many challenges throughout the day. I love challenges and being challenged, I like to see what I can do and what I still can’t do. Right now I am trying to see if my body can survive running a 5K, so far it isn’t looking good for the running part but that doesn’t mean I am going to quit, I keep at it until I can be successful.
For most of my teaching career I have been too busy and had either too many preps (different subjects to teach), too many outside duties (mentoring, committees, helping academic teams) or was even teaching at two schools during the same day (in opposite parts of the city) to have time to focus on many challenges outside of the classroom. My new position this year gives me the ability to focus on tasks at work for longer periods of time and this has meant I can now attempt more challenges that did not just deal with my students.
My biggest challenge right now is trying to develop a great 1 minute video so that I can eventually apply for the Google Teacher Academy. I view the Google Teacher Academy as a great learning experience, a chance to connect with some great educators and a chance to open myself up to even more challenges. The difficult part of this challenge is that I have never had that much success with truly creative endeavors. I do not view this as a character issue or trait that I am missing, my focus has just almost always been on practical problems and simple solutions. I tend to approach many things in life like a physics problem and I even solve those problems using the methods I learned as a physics student and teacher.
I was never good at art or music or anything like that, but that was because of my mentality about it and not what many people believe, that you are either creative or you are not. People like to say things like, “it is easy for you, you’re creative” or such to make themselves feel better for not creating something like a piece of art or music that they view as being “creative”. No one is born creative, they become that way due to work and practice. I was able to get an A once on an art assignment, because I put a lot of effort and work into making that piece of art. I still have it to this day even though it was something I made over 19 years ago. I keep it as a reminder of what I can accomplish when I put a lot of effort into something, even if I did not think I could or had not been successful in the past.
This video will hopefully be just like that. While my experiences are pulling me towards making a simple and straight forward video, I know that will not be enough. So I will practice and try and fail along this path to success. My final product will probably not be the best one out there but it will be the end product of a lot of work and effort. Just as I will not allow myself to write off this challenge because I have not been successful in ones like it, we can not allow our students to write off our subject just because they have not been successful in the past. Too many times a student might feel like they can not pass a class or learn well because of previous experiences. We have to help them see every challenge as a new opportunity to do something new and to learn from. So much is possible if we put forth all of our effort and truly see what challenges we can conquer.