Two years ago I stood in a lunch line at a phenomenal learning experience called Miami Device and was introduced to the idea of gamification by Explore Like a Pirate author, Michael Matera. I had no idea at the time how that conversation would change how I teach forever. Since that conversation in Miami, I have been on the most epic adventure as I've embraced innovation in ways I never realized were possible.
In the book, The Innovator's Mindset, author George Couros says, "Change is an opportunity to do something amazing". To be honest, prior to my conversation with Michael Matera I had felt my teaching was dialed in. I was confident, my students were learning, and I was enjoying teaching. However, when I was introduced to what was possible I knew that what I was doing was good, but I also knew it could be a lot better. In my heart I realized that though learning was happening, it wasn't to the level it could be. I wanted "AMAZING" My students deserve "AMAZING".
I am not going to lie, it was super scary. I felt like a first year teacher when I decided to gamify my culinary classes. I didn't know how students would receive it. I didn't know what other teachers or administration would think. I made lots of mistakes. There were moments when I considered going back to the comfortable. However, it didn't take long before I realized something magical was happening. Learning was coming alive for my students. Teaching was coming alive for me. My passion and excitement for teaching was reborn and I know my students felt it. I will never go back to the comfortable. The journey has been life changing for me as an educator, and the adventure is far from over.
I have so much to share about my adventures as I've embraced innovation. But for now I will say, embrace change. Take the opportunity to do something amazing. An epic adventure awaits!
Nike's slogan, "just do it" is playing through my head this morning as I accept Innovative Mindset author, George Couros', challenge to reflect my learning in a blog as we begin our #IMMOOC book study. In fact, that slogan has been repeating in my head a lot these past few years as I've pushed myself to think different and do different for the benefit of my students learning and my professional growth as an educator. I can't wait for perfect, because if I do it will never happen. If I'm going to grow, I have to jump in with two feet and be brave.
The past few years I've done a lot of "jumping in" and it's been scary. I've taken many risks that have seemed crazy. Not all have been awesome, but let me tell you....I've grown leaps and bounds. What I've found is that with each risk, my courage has grown. I've tapped into a part of me that I don't think I realized was there. Innovation is addicting. The more you innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible, the more you crave it.
To be honest, committing to blog writing is one of the scariest adventures I've embarked on. To put my words, thoughts, and insecurities out there for all to see is extremely unnerving. However, as I've learned through each risk I've taken....the jump is totally worth it. I'm going to jump in once again with two feet because, I know an epic adventure awaits. I challenge all of you who are scared about taking this leap....don't wait for perfect...."just do it!"
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!