We’ve all been there. You’re leading a lesson and feel it falling flat. The engaging activity you planned isn’t getting the hook in deep enough. Then a student asks you something that you don’t know the answer to. How do you respond? Do you feel undermined that you don’t know all the information for a given topic? Do you, as a teacher, have the expectation that if you don’t have all the facts and solutions at your fingertips that you are not able to teach your students?
Hopefully, you are willing to admit to students, “I don’t know.” Hopefully you’re willing to go further and add, “Let’s find out.” If you’re not, why?
Now, let’s apply that to new technology and tools that you have available in the classroom. Sometimes, people put up a barrier to trying things with students because they feel they aren’t experts in using it. They don’t know how to do everything with Flipgrid or WeVideo or Google Sites, so they don’t offer it to students, for fear they won’t be able to answer a question about it.
We need to be able to let that go.
Let go of the need to be the expert in the room on everything.
Let go of the need to be the expert in the room on everything. There are so many of your students that are eager to explore and become experts for your class. Let go of the fear of something not working perfectly the first time. Allow your students to solve the problem when something doesn’t work the first time.
In the past week, I had the opportunity to visit two schools with Grade 3, 4 and 5 students. With only very little direction, students were creating their own videos and using a green screen to insert themselves into all kinds of settings. They discovered so much on their own by being given a chance to poke around and play. As they learned how to use the service on their own they were eager to share with each other and teach each other. We workshopped each other’s videos, noting what could be changed or improved and how to do it. There was no expert in the room, the room was the expert.
Yes, it’s important to test how things work and understand what can be done to reach your learning goals in your classroom. But, you don’t need to be the expert in all things. You don’t need to be the leader from the front with all the answers.
Get out of the way and choose to follow. Your students are ready to get out front.