This blog post is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. I hope this post will encourage or inspire you to overcome fear in the classroom. I hope this post will help you to not let fear keep you from doing things or trying things in the classroom. The point of this post is to address the fear of bringing things into the classroom. This is meant to be an encouraging post and a positive post and I hope you feel encouraged after reading my thoughts.
I am truly blessed and fortunate because I get to talk to teachers all over the country (and the world!). I am so encouraged and inspired by the teachers I meet. These teachers share their ideas, their passions, their fears, their stress and their concerns. I want The Kindergarten Smorgasboard to be a place that address those fears and concerns and stresses. The Kindergarten Smorgasboard is a place to share, collaborate and problem solve. We’re all in this together and so we need to use this platform to do all we can to help one another. This is the philosophy that guides me to share my classroom with the world. I hope that when I share pictures and videos of all we’re doing that someone will find an idea or strategy that will help some of their stress or fear.
We are fortunate to be in a school where we have a good deal of freedom in our classrooms to teach in ways that are best for our kids. I fully understand that not everyone has that freedom. BUT, I know we all have a voice and we need to use that voice to advocate for changes and opportunities to what’s right and what’s BEST for our students. USE YOUR VOICE! Your classroom is your voice. Allow the happenings in your classroom (and the amazing data!) to support what you’re doing and to support doing new and different things.
Now, that all being said….here’s where I get on my soapbox. You’ve been warned….
Teachers, we need to stop being scared. Period. Mic drop.
Here’s what I mean.
So often when I share activities and lessons from our classroom I hear these statements:
What about allergies? What about the noise? That’s going to make a mess! We can’t use food because of allergies. The lights will cause seizures. They’ll fall off the stage. A kid might fall off the trampoline. What if the lesson fails? We need to stop the What ifs.
What if the kids are engaged and having fun and learning?? And, what if you make memories with your students? What if an administrator walks in and sees the kids doing an art project and having a conversation about their learning?
Yeah. They MIGHT fall. But they might fall off the swings at recess. They might bump into a friend in gym. They might fall on the playground. A lot of things MIGHT happen….but we can’t let MIGHT stop us from doing MIGHTY things in our classrooms.
STOP BEING SCARED!
It’s ok to use food in your classroom. Do we need to be aware of allergies and be safe? Absolutely. Do I know my students and their allergies? YES! Because a child has an allergy do I need to stop using all food in my classroom? NO. I have a student with a peanut allergy, egg allergy and seafood allergy. So I modify what we’re doing to address those issues. Does modifying mean we don’t do Foodie Fun Friday or we don’t’ eat foods from around the world for Holidays Around The World. NO. We cannot allow fear to stop us from giving our students genuine, engaging, exciting and new learning experiences. Be smart and safe but not scared. STOP LETTING FEAR INTO YOUR CLASSROOM.
We are all educated, caring professionals. Teachers know our students. We know their medical needs and their social needs. And we can still use food and music and lights. We just need to be smart about it. If you have a child who is prone to seizures, of course we’re going to be very careful in what lights we use. If we have a child who has noise sensitivity we’re going to turn the music down. Are we going to stop using music or not use cool lights? NO. We’re going to modify so we’re protecting our students and still creating a fun, engaging, happy classroom.
Yes, we have a trampoline in our classroom. We bounce. And we fall. It’s ok. We take precautions. But accidents will happen. But here’s my honest opinion: the trampoline (or stage), food, music and lights in my classroom are safer than the rusty, broken playground equipment. The mold in the building is more worrisome than the food we eat in our classroom. The scooters and climbing wall in the gym are more dangerous than some flashing lights. And on the subject of lights, can we just discuss the fact that our classrooms have flickering fluorescent lighting?!
Stop being scared and stop letting fear keep us from teaching our students. If your school has rules in place about food or music or lights, speak to your administrator and present your case. Use blogs or websites or research to support your argument. Show pictures or videos from social media to show how these things can work and be used safely and very effectively in the classroom. USE YOUR VOICE! Present a plan/solution to address concerns and have a plan to modify if necessary. When we approach these issues with a plan and some “research” and use our voice, we can effect change.
BE THE CEO!
You are the CEO of your classroom. Make the best decisions for your students but don’t let fear factor into those decisions. We teach our students to be bold and brave. If we expect that of our students, we need to be willing to be brave and bold in our teaching. It’s time we stand up, speak up and take risks and stop letting fear dictate our teaching.
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