Letting Go….When to release the life preserver…

life jacket

In my last post I referenced my daughter’s swimming lessons, so today I thought I would reference my son’s most recent swimming lesson.  My son is pretty young, so he has been taking parent and child classes.  I have been the lucky parent to take him to most of his lessons.  Luckily, there are only two students in the class, which mean we have lots of one-on-one time with the instructor.  The instructor, by the way, if fabulous!  That aside, he was praising how much progress my son had made during his lessons and how confident my son now appeared to be in the water.  This has been pretty exciting to watch him use kicking motions with his legs and swimming strokes with his arms.  He also has no problem being on his front or back.  The great news is that when he is in the water, he has the ability to role over from his front to his back repeatedly to get his head out of the water.  This is where the danger lies…. my son has become so comfortable and confident with water that we have to make sure that whenever he is around the water we are careful to watch him in case he decides to randomly jump in.

So….how does this relate to teaching and movement?  Granted, this might be a bit of stretch…..  As I have observed teachers over my teaching career, many teachers are afraid of letting go of their own teaching practices.  In other words, what they have done for years has worked, or it has appeared to work, so what is the point of trying something new?  I have a choice to make with my son.  I could keep him in the same class and keep repeating the same exercises with him day after day and be happy that he is progressing at a comfortable level where he is absolutely confident. Of course, as I stated in my previous post, repetition is actually good until progress is no longer happening.  The other choice I have with my son is to push him toward a new direction.  I can enroll him in the next class and continue to teach swimming skills (and survival skills) necessary for him to be in the water.  As the work becomes harder, his confidence level with fluctuate.  This may cause me, as a parent, to be concerned or feel uneasy because he isn’t completely as ease.

As a teacher, I am very comfortable and confident in what I do in the classroom.  Like many of my colleagues, I consider myself a good teacher.  I know what I do works in the classroom.  The difference is that I am willing to try something new, even if I am a little skeptical about what it might be.  I get frustrated, at times, with my colleagues who are unwilling to try anything new because they believe that what they do works.  Granted, it may work; however, if we, as teachers, are trying to help our students be the best that they can be, then we have to be willing to continue to perfect our own teaching practices.  We have to be willing to let go of the “easy” moments and work toward the “dangerous” moments.  We need to always have the big picture in mind, the students mind, and ourselves in mind as we make decisions about what we do in the classroom.  I love to challenge myself with what is uncomfortable.  This is where I learn that most about who I am as an educator and how I can reach all of the students in my classroom.

As I have mentioned before, some teachers are uneasy about using movement in the classroom.  I was one of those teachers!  The only reason I started using it was because I was desperate.  The results have been amazing. This is why I am advocating all teachers to let go a bit.  They can still keep their classes within their own life preservers,  but if they loosen the straps a bit, eyes can be opened.  This is what I love about teaching.  When teachers try something new and realize they can improve the awesome things they already do in the classroom.  The excited looks on the faces of teachers is just as rewarding as the exciting looks on the faces of students.  If we can get students up and moving we can help energize their minds, improve our classroom management, decrease student disruptions, and get excited about trying something new!

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