Risk-taking is not an art form; It is a conscious choice that we can choose to make. It is also a normal part of the learning process.
Each day we ask our students to take risks in our classrooms. We ask our kids to:
- Dive into activities that they may or may not be good at
- Share their ideas and opinions, even when they may be introverted or lack confidence
- Try something the second we ask them, without hesitation or apprehension
But, when do WE find time to take risks as the teacher, as the adult?
The most successful educators that I have ever met, who are the best at reaching kids, are masters at taking risks in the classroom every single day. Some days these risks may be mini-risks, while other days they are full-blown, terrifying, and monumental risks.
The other week I earned a free year of ClassCraft premium. One of our brave teachers, Molly, decided to literally jump into ClassCraft with her students one day and allowed HER STUDENTS to take control. Although she watched video tutorials on the process ahead of time, she still trusted students enough to learn and teach her. Since students were already familiar with games that include Warriors, Mages, and Healers, they were able to teach us more than we would have known through our own personal experiences alone. Never underestimate the knowledge that students can bring to the table.
What I have learned is that it is OKAY to be scared, it is just NOT OKAY to not try or give up.
How can you start with risk-taking? Start here:
1. Find your mission
Although taking random risks on a whim can be fun and still have a purpose, it is more meaningful to take a multitude of risks based on a mission you are focused on. Determine your mission first. Do you want to be more innovative? Take more risks based on that vision. Do you want to improve on your specific teaching strategies in a content area? Focus on taking risks in that specific area. Once you see success and small progress in one area, you are more likely to take bigger risks in the future.
2. Commit to it
Nothing feels worse than saying you will take a risk and then you end up never following through. Just go for it. Commit 110%. I have found personal success by informing others about my risks and goals so they can be my accountability partners and hold me to it.
3. Be patient and persistent
I have a promise for you: You will fail and you will fail again. Change your perception of failure and realize that risk-taking and failure go hand-in-hand; You cannot have one without the other. I also can guarantee you this: Although failure can hit you in the stomach sometimes, failure will always bring new insights, new pathways, and new journeys…we simply have to be able to see the positives right in front of us. Without failure, we would never get better.
4. Share your journey with others
Share your risks, share your adversities, share your successes. Through having others join you on your journey, you can be that role model of risk-taking for someone else. Furthermore, once you open up, others will be more likely to share their journey with you as well.