That four letter F word.... FEAR

That four letter F word.... FEAR

Just in case you were wondering…..No,  I’m not writing about THAT four letter F word…

I am reflecting on FEAR!!!

One of the incredible teachers I’ve connected with through Twitter is Craig Badura (@MrBadura) and he says:

“Fear” is the new four letter word when it comes to the use of  technology.  Too many times we are not providing engaging opportunities for kids because of our fear.  “What if the kids know more than I do?”  “What if a kid corrects me?”  “What if it fails?” (Check out Craig’s Blog)

Fear can hold us back…….I am sure we have all experienced that…..  But have you experienced this: Once we’ve overcome or conquered that which we fear, we  gain the greatest feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction unlike anything else! Or….. if we encounter failure then we learn many things we may never have learnt otherwise!

In teaching and learning there are many things that can arouse fear in us…. I teach pre-service teachers in numeracy and mathematics (yes they ARE different things…) and I also teach in ICT. These subjects are renown for arousing a fearful response from both teachers and pre-service teachers alike! We can’t let this hold us back.

Fear is a common feeling that all of us encounter at some stage or another and it IS sometimes a part of learning – I would even argue that it is a very important part of learning. I don’t know about you, but I believe that one important aspect of learning is risk taking which sometimes involves fear! BUT it’s what we do with this fear that makes all the difference!

I attended a PD session (at Flinders Uni) with the amazing George  Couros (@gcouros also check out his inspiring blog here)  and he showed the following clip which beautifully encapsulates the anticipation, suspense and fear before taking that leap when you’re about to take that risk! Check it out…….

What I love about this kid is the self talk….  “I’ll be okay” “I can do this” and when the JUMP finally occurs… this is the response “YEAH, it’s just the suspense at the top freaks me out … it seems like nothing now”.

One of my personal spiritual heroes, Joyce Meyer (@joycemeyer), has coined the phrase “do it afraid”. Sometimes, to really become the teacher you want to be, to facilitate learning in the best possible way… we need to take risks (even if they are not popular).  Overcome that fear and DO IT AFRAID!! Make sure you encourage yourself and ensure that your self talk is positive – just like that cute kid on the ski jump because you CAN do this if you let go of the fear.

Self talk is SO important. When I was in the final months of writing my thesis, I had to be aware of my self talk and make sure it was positive – positive self talk makes all the difference – it can empower you and help you achieve your goals! Have you had similar experiences with the power of self talk?

You know what?…. We expect our kids to take risks in their learning but are we as teachers taking risks in our own learning? I do hope we are…. I KNOW many, many teachers who are taking risks but I, personally, believe I can take more risks – A LOT more risks and I need to take more risks.

Honestly, I have been fearful about blogging. I am so used to being under pressure to pump out perfect, rigorous academic publications in journals and at conferences. I feel the pressure to be perfect. What I am beginning to understand however is that no one is perfect, we are all on a learning journey. Blogging is about learning and reflecting and SHARING those thoughts – not to be criticised but to be a part of a world-wide discussion where we can learn from one another!

So… I commit to regularly writing blog posts, to overcome my fear of this technology for the sake of my professional learning and the learning of my students.

May I leave you with some questions to reflect on? In terms of your teaching and student learning: What technology or tool are you fearful of, how can you overcome it and most importantly, when will you overcome it?  What new innovative things are you wanting to achieve with your students and their learning but you’re encountering fear? What is it? What is it? DO IT AFRAID! What’s the worst that could happen?

Alternatively…. reflect on when you DID take a risks: What were some of the great things that happened from overcoming this fear?

FEAR – Get rid of that four letter word from your vocabulary and have a great week!  🙂