I recently talked to one of my mentors — someone who I really respect — who posed a challenging question to me: how are you utilizing innovation in your classroom? I talked to her about blogging and how I wanted my kids to start using it, and before I could even start my laundry list of excuses as to why they haven’t started yet, she goes, “so why haven’t they started it?”
I explained that I really wasn’t comfortable starting to use it with them until my perfectionistic side knew they had a solid handle on how to blog. In other words, I wasn’t going to let them make mistakes, which is the opposite of what I tell them all the time:
- “Making mistakes is part of learning!”
- “If we make mistakes, it’s fine! You’ll actually remember the information better that way.”
- “It’s safe to make mistakes in our classroom, guys.”
– Miss Brown, to her sixth graders
But I’m contradicting myself by not giving them the opportunities to even try to fail. I’m robbing them of authentic learning experiences by virtue of trying to protect them. So you know what? We’re going to blog next week. And we’re going to play around with Apple Clips to create visual displays for upcoming projects (poetry, maybe? book club presentations? guess we’ll find out!).
As for me? Well, here I am, one year after my last post, posting again. Initially, I had thought, “I can’t pick that back up, how could I? It’s been a year…how ridiculous would that look?” But I’m going to, because, why not? And what kind of an example am I if I tell my kids it’s okay to make mistakes, but I won’t allow myself to make them? #therapy
Part of innovation is making mistakes and allowing yourself to grow from them. It doesn’t mean doing it perfectly the first time. It doesn’t mean doing it perfectly the twelfth, twentieth, or sixty-first time. It means doing it. Period. Reflecting and tweaking, always. Innovation isn’t perfect, and it shouldn’t be.
Comment below: how are you using innovation in your classroom?