Building Within the Box

It has been a little bit more than a week since I returned home from the annual ISTE conference in San Diego. This will be the first of many reflective posts I write as I have many takeaways rattling around in my head. One of the highlights of the conference for me was listening to Sir Ken Robinson speak as part of the keynote and then as part of a Q and A follow up. Now, I won’t get into the horrible job other panelists did, but Sir Ken mentioned something that stuck with me during his Q and A.

At some point during the Q and A Sir Ken made a statement basically stating that teachers often have more freedom than they willingly exercise. Essentially, we complain about all the restrictions and “boxes” we are placed in but we don’t push the limits and see what we can actually do. In fact, he stated that teachers can actually do more innovative and new things within their current environments than they are often willing to try or think they can.

I spent a great deal of time reflecting on these statements and I think there is a great deal of truth within them. It is very easy to complain about poor leadership, bad policy, and the millions of other obstacles teachers face. I will be the first to tell you that I am certainly guilty of that more often than I should. It is always easy to complain about the metaphorical box we have been placed in without trying to do anything about it. There is often a great deal more that teachers can do than we give ourselves credit for. What is holding us back? Is it fear…fear of failure…fear of repercussions…fear of the unknown…

In thinking ahead to next school year, I want to make an effort to do less complaining about the box and start building, creating and innovating within whatever box my students and I find ourselves in.