Think about a time when you had to do something complex. You have a plan, you know what it is you want to do, and you are ready to go. Now think about how that scenario would go if someone else was watching you. It’s a little different, right? Fear is real. Professional teachers learn quickly that their teaching will be on display from time to time. It is meant to help us reflect and grow. However, it is also tied to an evaluative end. We have skin in the game, so how do we get comfortable with discomfort? It ‘s one thing to feel uncomfortable, but we can power through it if we can set-up some conditions for a safe learning environment.
A condition for safety is coming to mutual respect. When we focus on our strengths and use positive language overcoming those nervous feelings becomes a natural part of the process. Complex work, like teaching, requires so much risk because there are so many facets that go into planning. Being uncertain about what another person believes about you, your values, or your performance undermines potential. However, we can take some control to feel safe. This is how it can be done:
- Know how to make your curriculum relevant to the real work of students.
- Have a deep understanding of how to support students’ developmental needs.
- Go into each lesson with a clear intention, with an array of potential outcomes.
What’s true for us, is true for kids. Consider how you are creating a safe environment for your students to take risks. What would that look like in your classroom? We show students we believe in them by the way we speak to them, the way we show them respect and the kinds of expectations we set for them. If we just look at what they can do we cannot go wrong. We are teaching them that they are safe, respected, valued, and only then will they take the really big risks