Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Say, Ask, and Be

change In Say the change you want to see from Generation YES Blog by Sylvia Martinez, she states,

“Say the change you want to see. Ask the change you want to see. Be the change you want to see.”

This really had a great impact on me because it really expressed what I feel. Yet, I’m scared.

When I say something out loud, it makes it real. By saying the words, it is no longer a quiet thought in my head. Quiet thoughts cannot be analyzed or criticized. As long as they are in my head, no one can tell me I’m wrong or I’m crazy for thinking this way. They are my thoughts and only I can see or hear them in my head. They are not anyone else’s and they belong all to me. Maybe I’m selfish with my thoughts and don’t want to share them with anyone else. But when I act this way, change will never happen.

Once I say my thoughts out loud, I need to be willing to ask what needs to be done to accomplish what I want. By asking, I’m taking a risk. I’m taking a risk because there will be others who tell me that it can’t be done or why it shouldn’t be done. I need to be specific with my questions and not ask ones that people can answer with these negatives. I need to ask what steps I need to take to reach this goal. I’m not asking if I should do it or whether it can be done. If it can be put into words, anything is possible. Think about the first automobile or plane that was invented and the way people may have approached these ideas. I’m sure there were many people who thought it was impossible but I really believe that once it is formed into words and said out loud, anything is possible. I love the thought of getting input from others though who may see my thought from a different perspective and help me think of approaches that I would never have thought about myself. I think that is why I value connecting and collaborating with others so much.

Once I have said it and asked about it, I need to take action. Talking and discussing will never make anything happen. I picture it like alphabet soup and it is nothing but letters being stirred around in a pot of soup. Stirring is not eating and no nutritional value is gained by stirring. It is a total waste of time to talk about something, work into a plan, and then do absolutely nothing with it. I see too many politicians talk in circles this way and nothing ever seems to get accomplished.

I need to think about the risks of attempting to make changes. What is the worst thing that can happen? Usually, the worst thing that can happen is a strike to my pride more than anything else. I need to ask myself if the risk worth it? It takes courage to make a change. Sometimes when we push for change, we stand alone, apart from everyone else. Everyone seems to be holding their breath waiting to see if I sink or swim. No matter what, I can feel proud that I made the attempt.

As I think about this, I wonder if this is what my students are feeling. Do I take in account that they are going through the same things that I do when I am changing my life? Whenever they learn something new, they are taking a risk. They are taking a risk by admitting that they don’t know something (and that is really hard for teenagers to do). They take the risk of not succeeding and facing ridicule by their peers (aren’t adults afraid of the same thing?). We need to make our students aware of the possibilities of success as well as the risks of failure but encourage them to give it a try.

In future posts, I plan to say the changes that I want to see happen, and ask for your input in planning these. Then I hope I will have the courage to take action and give an update here on how it turns out. Stay tuned while I say, ask, and be!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Think global, act local'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12836528@N00/3775041416 by: Kevin Dooley


Ryan said...

I agree that students are taking a risk when they learn. Too often peer pressure sets in and students don't raise their hand to ask a question. Two possible reasons: They fear they will look like a 'nerd' because they want to learn; or the fear they will look 'stupid' that they don't know the answer. The combination of these two labels for a teen are overwhelming. A great teacher is one that can suppress these fears and allow students to think aloud with confidence.

Bill Gaskins said...

If it leave our head, we are taking risks. If stays inside, we stay protected. Words on paper represent our thoughts. Now the words are open to be reinterpreted. If we allow ourselves to engage in the interpretation, we learn. If stays inside, it dies or haunts us.

Burgess Elementary Saving Tomorrow said...

Think globally, act locally is the motto of my classroom. Today one of my 5th grade students presented a plan for our school to help Haiti -- truly putting words into action. He took a risk because he felt the pull, moving beyond how he would look or what others would say.

loonyhiker said...

@Ryan Many times that person afraid to raise their hand was me. I know exactly what you mean.

loonyhiker said...

@Bill I can just picture my ideas dying inside. Thanks for the visual.

loonyhiker said...

@Burgess Elementary What a great thing for your student to do. I know that it must have been hard for him to take that first step. I hope others followed his actions.