Many of us go into teaching because we get to educate the youth of America, we are told that the retirement might still be good by the time we are done teaching, and we have a passion for teaching and educating our own selves to become better individuals. But some, even still have the understanding that we get to control the curriculum we teach. This is both, yes and no. If you are struggling with control and curriculum, here are some tidbits I have learned along the way.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – If we are sweating the “small” stuff, it generally means that there is a larger area of our own life that we are putting off and are simply not in the mood to deal with it. In this case, we have to turn inward and ask ourselves a couple questions, “What are we afraid of in the classroom?” “What are we afraid to let our students do alone?” It is okay that our students generate their own learning and questioning. This means that they feel safe in your classroom and they have some control over their own learning. We have let go and relinquish some control. This doesn’t mean that we are not teaching to the standard, it just means our classroom is going in a direction that they want to go while mastering the standard you have set forth. What do we need to be more aware of to let go of the “small” stuff?
- You Ask a lot of People their Opinions – As teachers it is sometimes hard to believe in our ability to teach well. When students are not understanding the concept, or we had a lesson that didn’t go well, we often have to go back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong. However, we need to be confident in our own skills (teaching, creating curriculum and maintaining a safe environment – among other things) and knowledge as of our content. We need to trust our own intuition. If we have people weigh-in too often, then we (have someone) who is justifying our decisions. We will have people that don’t agree with us and that is okay. Just because people don’t agree with us, doesn’t mean it is wrong. As long as you are creative and trying new things, you are getting your information out there. We ask people their opinion because validation makes us feel safe. And…feeling safe is part of feeling like we have some control in the matter.
- You Check Out or Avoid Dealing with Things – There is a difference between checking out and avoiding a situation all together. Avoidance is the worst way in which control rears its ugly face. Therefore, we need to work on preventing our need to avoid certain situations or curricular challenges:
- Try something out of your comfort zone that challenges your curriculum and your students. Fear and risk are a good thing although it feels scary in the moment, we won’t know if it works unless we try it.
- Learn something new about your content or curriculum. For example, Health content is constantly changing and understanding that will allow me to be open to trying and learning new things to become a better teacher and give my students some control.
- When we try something new, fear is an emotion that might rear its ugly head, but it is okay to feel this way. When we we try new activities in our curriculum it is the fear that allows us to feel energized that we have taken the risk to try something new anyway
- Finally, simply be aware that we are sometimes in need of letting go…recognize that need to let go of the need to be in control.