So people who know me understand that I get bored easily. I’m one of those people who has a hard time sitting still. As a child I was constantly being told to quit tapping, bouncing or jiggling. And if I am sitting still my mind is probably racing on into next week.
Apparently a trait that I considered to be negative is actually a really good thing! My boredom with doing things over and over the same way again and again has helped me be innovative and I didn’t even know it. I created new units and new ways of delivering material. I chuckle as I think about being accidentally innovative. Can that even REALLY happen? I can tell you with the utmost certainty that yes it can – sort of.
Sometimes I think I overwhelm myself. I hear about new things and feel guilty that I’m not doing them. Yet, on the other hand I am doing many new things – they may just not be the latest buzzword of the day.
What I have now realized is that what I was doing was little like being lost in the wilderness doing whatever I could to make sense of things. I did some innovative things, but at a great expense of energy and without the results I hoped for. Mostly because I always stayed inside my comfort zone only going so far.
I feel that now I understand better that innovation is not just doing a new thing, it is a change of mindset. I am more purposeful and focused now on true innovation which includes bettering myself through networking and reflection resulting in a richer and better experience for myself and my students. I have taken the time to network more using Twitter as my best new PD learning tool with access to so many gifted and inspiring educators. I have also taken much more time to reflect. Writing this blog is one way I do that, but daily reflection about what is working and not working in my class has long been part of my practice. My more purposeful focus has most recently lead me to take risks that I would not have been comfortable with not so long ago. This semester my class and I are part of a Global Project (#ClimateActionP) where the students do much of the leading and I am learning to let go more than I have before. I also have been developing a Mental Wellness unit and I am using the idea of the “audience effect” and having the students research and do the teaching. Both these projects have me stepping out of my comfort zone as a teacher, but they both also have my interests totally piqued!
Well, being accidentally innovative has been good for me because it lead me to purposeful, focused and definitely exciting true innovation.