Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fear Leads to the Dark Side #EdChat

“Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” - Master Yoda

This quote stands out to me when I think of education and change. One of the biggest road blocks to change is fear. When I see teachers angry about change and hating on new ideas, it leads to fear. Fear that they cannot teach in the new model, fear they will look stupid trying out the new ideas, and just general fear for that their every day teaching lives is going to be thrown into chaos. However, we need to fight our fear or succumb to the Dark Side.

The quote does a nice job outlining what happens when new ideas are brought to some teachers. At first, they are angry that there is something else for them to learn and use in the classroom. They move to resent and hate the new idea or tool because they are being told to use it. The students will suffer because the teacher has decided not to embrace these ideas or the teacher will suffer because they are being left behind. It all starts with fear.

A Jedi needs to face their fears. A truly great teacher must face their own. This could be trying a new cloud based tool or the Socratic Seminar in their class. It could be anything, but facing fear can lead to many great things. The environment also needs to bet set in such a way that allows for trial and error with support. Luke had Yoda to guide him while he faced his fears and it is important for schools and districts to offer mentoring and coaching for all teachers willing to take on new ideas and face their fears. Asking anyone to go it alone is cruel and leads to the Dark Side.

Moving forward, take a look at your environment. Does it support facing fear and taking risks? Do you have a coach or mentor that can support you on this journey? Can you support someone on their journey? The Dark Side is a place too many teachers end up because a system of support was not in place for them and the allure of easy path is too hard to overcome. I believe that all teaches have the ability to be a Jedi. What are going to do today to make that possible?