It’s October, the month of National Face Your Fears Day and a great month for educators to reflect on how we can face our own fears in the classroom and model the courage to try for our students. Incorporating new ideas, techniques and technologies in the classroom is difficult for many educators simply because of fear – fear of trying something new, fear of failure, and <gasp> fear of failure in front of our students!
To be honest, we’re not truly sure on what exact date in October Face You Fears Day actually falls. There are several Internet references to it falling on the third Tuesday in October, always on October 13th, and some recognizing it on the second Tuesday of October. We figure if we just focus on facing our fears throughout the entire month, we’re just a step ahead in actually facing our fears!
The quote above, one of my favorites, makes me wonder what would happen in our schools and lives if we lived with the idea that making mistakes and experimenting were actually part of the process to getting it right. Would our students view things differently when they didn’t get it right the first time? Would we as educators view it differently when we try something new in class and crash and burn?
Face Your Fears With Classroom Technology
In the context of implementing new technologies in your classroom, we realize that knowing how to use the technology is only one small part of its successful implementation. Most importantly, new users have to be willing put their fear behind them and TRY.
Being willing to use your document camera, MimioStudio Interactive Software, or GradeCam for something new in class is the first step to becoming a pro at using it in new and exciting ways from which your students will benefit. Many times we fall into the trap of thinking that we must know it inside out, upside down, and backward before we can use it in class, but that is certainly not the case. In fact, your students might be some of your best helpers at figuring it out!
But, What If I Fail?
In the end, what if your students see you fail? Well then, you’ve just taught them more than you even planned to. You’ve taught them that it is okay to mess up. When they see you show up the next day and try again to get that new technique, activity or technology to work, you’ve taught them to be persistent and that failing takes you one step closer to succeeding. By trying something different, you’ve taught them to always keep improving.
Not only will you benefit by learning to implement new techniques and technologies in the classroom, but your students will benefit because they have seen you model courage, persistence, and (hopefully) the ability to laugh at yourself when you do invariably mess up. These are important lessons that our students need to be learning.
No Fear October
If we are intent on developing kids into adults that aren’t scared to fail and aren’t scared to share creative ideas for fear of being shot down, then we must be willing to face our own classroom fears and take risks. However, we do recommend facing your fears with a heavy dose of humor and a willingness to laugh at yourself.
Remember, when you face your fears of trying new things in your classroom, you’re not alone. We offer many online resources for the products we sell (make sure and check out the Resources Tab on the product page of the ET website), some our manufacturers offer free live webinars (check out the GradeCam schedule) or free live trainings (see the Mimio QuickLearn schedule), and you can always contact an ET Team member with specific questions. In addition, follow us on social media, where you’ll find helpful guides and videos, as well as various user tips and tricks!
This month, in honor of National Face Your Fears Day (whatever date it might ACTUALLY be), try that new technology in the classroom, leave behind your teaching “comfort zone,” and step out with courage.
Your students will thank you for it.
Editor’s Note: This article was published in October 2014 and updated in October 2017.