Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lazy Afternoons

The soft, warm couch.

The lounge chair on the beach.

The float in the middle of the backyard pool.

Ahhhhhh, the comfort zone. These are places that we know we can retreat to at those times where maybe things aren't going quite as well as we might have hoped. Those places that provide safety and security for us when we need them the most. We all have them and we all need them. The thought of leaving our comfort zones often causes us distress, pain, and often forces us to stay with the familiar.

Looking back on my summer (after all, summer does not officially end until Thursday), I have realized that I have forced myself out of my comfort zone in almost every way that I could. Today, I ran almost 9 miles (averaging about 7:45 a mile, which I am told is pretty quick), and that was, until the past couple of weeks, about 3 miles than I had ever run before. (That quest goes back to the goal setting entry a couple of weeks ago.)

I also took a three-day teaching history with technology class in June that truly challenged the way I think about teaching and what my role in it should be. That class is what has inspired me to blog about my experiences this year and why I am asking my students to do the same. It was motivated me to use technology as a tool to challenge my students, not just a substitute for what I was doing in the classroom. I don't think that I can ever be the same teacher that I was before this summer, and that is a good thing.

As hard as it may have been, stepping outside of my comfort zone (a place that I found was really necessary for what has been going on over the past 16 months or so) has started me down the road to becoming better at what I do, and, hopefully and more importantly, better for my students. The growth that I believe I have gone through has made this possible, and is why I am going to spend my year challenging my students to step outside their comfort zones, to do things that they never thought they could because it seemed too difficult, because it got them up off the couch and out of the lounge chair and into a place they never knew they could reach.

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