I consider myself fortunate to live in an age where “Lifelong Learning” is an admirable thing. I’m afraid I’d be considered fickle or flighty if I lived in an earlier era. Every few years I feel the need to do something Different. I’ve gone back to school. Twice. I’ve changed jobs. More than twice. I sign up for every technology training I can, which is what landed me here. I’m happy to see tools that I’ve never heard of on the schedule and I look forward to the mental exercise of learning something new. I feel very comfortable tackling the learning tasks that will be presented here. The itch for a real challenge won’t be ignored.
This year I decided to try something really different and way out of my comfort zone. I signed up for a triathalon. Never mind that I can barely swim. Oh, and I’m afraid to ride a bike with people around me. I signed up anyway. I think it will be a good thing for me to feel the fear and uncertainty that so many kids feel every day in school. Kids come in not knowing how to read or write or add and we expect them to believe they can learn. We tell them to work hard and success will follow. Easy words to say. Hard words to believe when facing a task that seems impossible. I’m old enough and experienced enough to know logically that I can learn how to overcome my obstacles, but that has not been enough to erase the emotional fear that comes over me every time I think about getting into a pool or riding my bike outside the safety of the cycle studio. I’m not talking so much about fear of failure; I’m talking about fear of looking foolish. Wow. That fear is strong! Strong enough to make me want to quit. Strong enough to make me wish I hadn’t told so many people about my plans. To wish my dear spouse hadn’t spent so much money on a nice new bike for me. What on earth made this middle-aged overweight woman think she has any business doing a triathalon?
Writing about it is scary too. Will the readers laugh at me along with the swimmers and bikers?
I am becoming much more sensitive to what my students feel when presented with something new or unfamiliar. My desire to quit Iron Girl training rather than look stupid has been eye-opening. No wonder some kids don’t seem to try. Not trying feels SO MUCH SAFER! Hmm, did I just stumble on a reason why some teachers are reluctant to try these new web 2.0 tools we want to share with them?