As teachers, as September turns to October, we sometimes become more set in our ways, fixed within our furrow. Life becomes a blur, as we march from Go to School Night to Parent-Teacher Conferences to writing narratives for our report cards to Thanksgiving to Winter Break and so on. As a result, it is easy to fall into a comfortable routine and rhythm , keeping to what is familiar in order to remain sane and stress free.
As we moved into our newly renovated building, we were introduced to new learning spaces. Classrooms were now Learning Studios with movable furniture. There were seminar rooms for which we needed to figure out how we were going to use them. There were project spaces, former hallways which now have counter-tops and chairs for either individual quiet work or to collaborate with others. There is the commons and the “V”, the grand staircase.
All of these changes were overwhelming and these do not even take into account the new technologies. A normal human reaction when faced with such widespread, radical change is to keep doing what is comfortable in the new space, without experimenting and playing with the opportunities that these new designs offer.
This week, however, we are seeing teachers who are starting to break out of the furrow, break the mold. I am seeing this as teachers begin to venture out of their spaces and into our new Collaborative Learning Lab with our two media:scapes. Today, we had a teacher who left the comfort of his new Learning Studio and move his class into one of our Project Studios so students could spread out on the ten tables working on their computers to complete a project due tomorrow. Another teacher, highlighted earlier, has now used all of our media:scapes for work in his class. As he stated, “sometimes you have to stop and re-assess what you are doing and give new things a try”
As a school culture, we have to make sure we break out of our habits because they are comfortable and take a chance. Sometimes it may not work as we had hoped. In fact, it may work out significantly better than we imagined. But only if we take a chance.