Monday, March 9, 2015

Next Level Please

In Are You Leveling Up from Thoughts By Jen by Jennifer shares,

“I am addicted to games on the internet — right now, my favorite is Monster Breakers.    I can lose too many hours in a month playing the game — moving from level to level — within minutes.
Each level a new adventure, a new possibility, a new game plan, always something new.
And it got me to thinking — how boring school must be for our students who are used to “leveling up” — often.”

This had me thinking about how easy it is to get in a rut. Life is going smoothly. I am successful at most of the things that I’m doing. No major problems but then, no major challenges either.

I find myself getting into a routine that I enjoy and when my routine changes, I get annoyed.  I don’t think anyone really likes change. We watch the Big Bang Theory and laugh all the time as we see Sheldon fight any change by digging his heels in. I think we laugh because we see ourselves in him.

Maybe I need to see the changes as a way of leveling up.

I need to see the challenges in the weather as a way of leveling up. I need to figure out what productive activities I can do even though the weather is bad. It is easy in bad weather to just want to cuddle up under the blankets and read a good book. I admit to doing that sometimes but it isn’t good to do it all of the time.

I need to see the challenges of obstacles that slow me down in reaching certain goals as a way of leveling up. What can I do to overcome the obstacles? This is a great exercise for the mind as well as my will to achieve my goal. I am actively trying to lose weight and it is so easy to buy those cookies that “buy one get one free” at the store because I convince myself that I’m really saving money. When actually, I’m just putting an obstacle in my way. I need to level up and see how many of these obstacles I can resist.

I think my students don’t mind the challenges in a video game but aren’t as willing to see real life as a video game. They might want to level up in games but I’m not sure they are willing to take the risks in real life. Games are safe. They know they won’t die or be publicly humiliated. There are no report cards that go to parents when the game is done. There are no real repercussions when the game ends. Life doesn’t end until you die. Leveling up means real risks in the game of life. Taking wrong turns or making bad choices can affect your entire life and we drill this idea into students as soon as they enter the education system.

So I see my job as making these students feel safe enough to level up in the game of life. I need to make sure we look at the “what ifs” beforehand. I know that sometimes it makes me feel better when I have to make a decision. Wouldn’t I be helping my students learn how to make informed decisions? I can help them plan for the times that they don’t make the next level and what actions they need to take the next time they try. It is important that I teach them that they need to try and never give up.

Eventually they will learn to think about the “what ifs” on their own and hopefully this will help them make better choices. Maybe they will move to the next level more easily.

Life is full of changes. I need to learn to embrace them instead of running from them.

Do you level up? How do you do it? How do you get your students to level up? Please share.

Image: 'Blue runner'
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