"If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will create anything orginal." Ken Robinson
I signed up to start a master's program today. It has been something I've been thinking about and thinking about and thinking about. It is an on-line program and I will be studying Educational Technology which makes total sense as I teach technology. The only concerns I have are the usual: time and expense. An awesome organization is willing to pay for half the tutition for teachers who want to get their master's in technology, but the expense is still worrisome. But I figure, you know, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
I would never eat an elephant, by the way. That's just something my Grandma always said, and I get it -- big things get finished one thing at a time. As for the time, that usually works itself out with the impact generally hitting my sleep patterns. I'll keep you posted.
Failure is always just around the corner, you know. If you are trying new things and struggling to develop skills, then you risk failing at them. I get that. It is something that sort of hovers nearby. I am willing to give new things a go, though. I've spent the last year or so, saying yes to things that make me anxious or that I can't visualize my way to the end. I'm willing to give it a go for the sake of trying and learning, and whatever comes next - comes next.
I thought jumping off the high dive like have would result in a lot MORE anxiety and stress, but for the most part, it has left me feeling encouraged and hopeful. Sometimes it DOES cause moments of serious stress and I can feel my heart beat like crazy, but those are just moments and I've learned so much.
This week I started teaching students how to CODE their own websites -- not use a site like this one (squarespace- which is awesome by the way) but actually write the lines of code that make a website happen. They were super pumped about how easy it was for them to learn the first beginning steps. One student, who has nothing but challenges in the rest of her academic life, leaned in, listening intently. "Wait," She said thoughtfully. "So, those tags just tell the computer what to write? So it is like putting in the right pieces of a puzzle, only, this is a puzzle that I get to make look anyway I want." I was stunned. "You are a natural computer engineer." I told her. "You understand it really well." She beamed. "It feels like a language I already know."
Of course, people have told me that elementary school students are too young to write html/css or java script. It is too complicated. It will only frustrate them. But the thing is I am TONS older than them, and I'm the one with the slower brain cells -- computer programming is easier for them. They can learn it far quicker than I can. That is the way it is for so many things. I introduce something new to my students, and once they get the hang of it -- it is up to me to try and keep up with them. They pass me up; developing newer and stronger skills.
I've told them, repeatedly, that my long-term goal would to help them develop such a proficiency at web page building that they could start a business NOW during ELEMENTARY school building web sites for real businesses and putting money away for their future education. Wouldn't that be fantastic? To have a business under their belt BEFORE they hit their teens. I know my students are fabulously capable and are fearless when approaching new subjects.
Maybe that is the greatest thing I've learned in my decades of teaching - to be as fearless as my students; to look at new things and say, "Well, this looks complex, but I can do it. I just haven't learned it, yet, but you give time, a calculator, some searches on google, a few conversations with experts, a few false starts, a pickaxe, a compass and a couple gallons of coffee and I'll get it."
So, here's to baby steps forward. Let's all get moving.