Skip to main content

What's Your Comfort Zone?

    I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a whole month with my twin sister, Lisa.  This is the most time we have been able to spend together since she left me 6 years ago to move 10 HOURS away!  (Can you tell I didn't handle this move well?)  She and her children spent several weeks here at my home and then my family stayed a week with her at her home.  This last part required my family to pack up and make the ten hour drive to her home in lower Alabama.

ROAD TRIP!
Now, I was super excited about this trip because my sister's house is within an hour and half from the beach!  Yay, beach time!  However, my reaction to this vacation and my husband's reaction were completely different.  Let me explain...

Me:   Yay vacation, beach time, traveling, seeing new sites, woohoo ROAD TRIP!
Jack:  ugh vacation, loading the car, driving places I'm not familiar, going to places I'm not familiar, ughhhh road trip!

    As you can see I'm much more comfortable with trying new things, going new places, and relaxing.  When talking with my husband about vacation he made the comment, "I know everyone else likes vacation and thinks it's relaxing, but for me vacation is the exact opposite.  It stresses me out!  I worry about work, the house, the pets, driving in places I'm not familiar, and all the things that could go wrong when you're away from home.".  Wow!  I thought for a long time about this comment and really started to understand that, for him, going away for vacation is stepping out of his comfort zone.  Something I view as so simple and easy is hard for him.  The expected reaction that most people have to vacation is not at all the reaction he has.  
   
Newest classroom set up.
The 1st classroom set up.
    This got me thinking about my students, fellow teachers, and administrators.  First my thoughts went to my administrators who have worked so hard this year to get our staffulty to step out of the box and grow in ways we might not have thought about doing ourselves. Ha! They were gently urging us out of our comfort zones!  My fellow teachers and I felt excited and were willing  to make this journey because our administrators (aka lead learners) had taken the time to create a safe zone for us.  They grew a school culture that empowered us to feel adventurous enough to try new things that were out of our comfort zones.  My students benefited from this because they got see Mrs. Savage taking chances.  They watched me rearrange our classroom furniture about one million times while I was delving into the idea of an alternative classroom.  They saw me try, fail, try again, express my discomfort with some of the arrangements, and persevere at the "new" thing I was trying to do.  
    Next, I thought of our students.  Comfort zones can feel like steel fences wrapped around us.  Something we think is easy might be hard for them to do.  We need to create  class cultures where mistakes are not only accepted, but expected!  When we model our own failures and risk taking we empower our students to step a little further outside of their comfort zone.  The steel fence gets broken down a little more each time they experience the opportunity to take a risk.  These risk taking moments will happen when you do the work to create an environment that will foster them.



“Students will do amazing things if you can design a class and environment that is positive and empowering.  Rising up to and overcoming challenges, building lifetime relationships, and forging positive connections to school won’t directly result in better test scores.  It will result in better people.  Isn’t that what we’re really trying to accomplish?” ~ Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate



     Think about your comfort zone.  When is the last time you stepped out of it?  Why did you do it?  What motivated you to take the risk?  How can you do the same for your students, fellow teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators?  BE THE PERSON WHO INSPIRES SOMEONE TO STEP OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE!

~ Liz
   
My inspiration! 














Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Power of Yet...

Yet...so much power in one word.  It brings to mind the notion that something is not finished...an action yet to be completed.

      A good friend of mine...a mentor, who happens to also be my principal,  Bethany Hill, recently posed the question on Twitter... "What if we viewed  barriers and obstacles as opportunities?"  My mind immediately went to the  amazing obstacle course that our PE teacher currently had set up in our  gymnasium.  I was visualizing my little first graders' eyes as they walked into the  gym and saw this colorful array of obstacles.  Their eyes lit up with excitement,  some of them literally jumped up and down with pure glee at the challenge  before them.
      Next, I thought of how they intentionally took the challenge and began to  problem solve how they were going to maneuver through the course.  They  didn't know how they were going to do it yet...but they were determined to  figure it out.  Not one child said, "I can't do this.  I…

The Struggle is Real!

There is a moment that every teacher reaches when working with struggling learners.  It's that moment when you stop and say, "What else can I do?  I've done everything I know to do and yet nothing seems to be helping."  As a teacher, it is one of the most helpless feelings.  Watching a student struggle and become frustrated or even want to give up is a horrible experience, but it is the reality of what happens when a student continuously "doesn't get it."  They eventually do not want to try anymore.

I found myself in this place, once again, with some very sweet, precious, and most importantly hard working students.  They were working their little brains to the point of exhaustion every day trying to read.  Again and again we would go over our letters and sounds, reading strategies, and sight words.  Again and again they would struggle to identify the sight words we had just discussed.  We were building our spelling words and breaking them apart every da…

Do You Know Me?

We are by nature compiled of little mannerisms, habits, obsessions, and characteristics. They make us who we are. They are formed by our experiences, sensories, emotions, and thoughts. These little nuances determine our behaviors, our focus, our likes and dislikes, and the challenges that we will carry and have to overcome. They are tiny parts of us but knowing these pieces are HUGE in helping the people around us communicate with us. 

I have an enormous sensory issue. I hate touching paper, wearing jeans, and loud noises. Certain textures of clothing and food make me cringe and want to run away screaming! Some of these sensory issues could easily control me...if I gave them permission to do so. As a child they totally did. I would wear dirty clothes straight out of the hamper rather than wear something I knew would make me uncomfortable. I couldn't turn the pages in my book because of the feeling I got when the paper rubbed together. I had issues with writing because of obsession…