Come on people…with a show of hands, how many of you step outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis? If you do, this entry is not for you. If you don’t, then keep reading! Take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions: “Where do you feel the most comfortable?” “Why do you personally choose to stay inside your comfort zone?” “What situations force you to step out of your comfort zone?” “Who helps you face the challenges when you do step outside of your comfort zone?”
If I am being honest with all of you, my most comfortable places are at my parents house, on my couch, on a volleyball court, on a beach somewhere in Turks and Caicos or at Wrigley Field cheering on the Chicago Cubs! But, every now and again, I have to step outside my comfort zone to grow and challenge myself for the betterment of my own life and for those around me (do I really need to go into the debacle of my days coaching middle school basketball)?
We cannot stay stagnant in life or in our curriculum writing! If you are not challenging yourself, then how do we expect our students to challenge themselves? As I mentioned in a couple curricular element videos, specifically #2 and #3, experimenting in the classroom is good, as long as it does not compromise learning or the well-being of our students. So why don’t more teachers challenge themselves with new curriculum and step outside of their comfort zone? Is it because they are scared? Afraid of failure? Worried about administration? Worried about parent feedback? Frankly, I would say it is a combination of all of the above!
As teachers we are told to write and plan curriculum that is challenging and teaches students about both the content and life experiences. However, when we do that and we are questioned by the same people that tell us to challenge our students, we take a step back and revert to our old ways of teaching. I can’t tell you how to step out of your comfort zone, but I can tell you that when you do, you will be better for it! You will have learned a little bit more about yourself! You will have a sense of accomplishment and a higher level of confidence! And you will have the tiniest urge to try it again! Don’t settle for mediocre, try more, do more, and step out of your comfort zone!