A Note in a Bottle

Recently a note in a bottle washed in upon my shore as if by magic (thanks magic!) Inside was the following quote:

A ship in the harbor is safe – but that’s not what ships are for.

– John A. Shedd (yes he is going nautical again!)

After considering this quote for a while I found that it had many meanings for me as an educator and the instructional leader at PHS. The following are a few of the things that came to mind:

  1. RiskOf course it is always easiest to stay with what is known. Staying within one’s comfort zone, not attempting to try new things, is easy (until the hull rots and the ship sinks) for there is no challenge. But if we choose to set sail, risk the unknown, we learn a lot about ourself during the journey and could possibly find a whole new world at the end! Whether it is trying a new strategy in class, attempting a new schedule for classes, taking on a new responsiblity, or cutting ties and moving on, we will certainly gain (if only experience) for making the attempt.
  2. DestinationSometimes it is not the destination that matters at all. It is the richness of the journey that is most important. O.K. so getting there is only half the fun. I think that as I gather more experience as an educator, the more I am moved to believe that there has got to be a better way to prepare high schoolers for the real world. Maybe the destination should be, if we’re willing to take the risk, a remodeled high school where students collaborate with each other, with teachers(as facilitators) and professionals from the real world of work to prepare for their life’s vocation.
  3. DoldrumsDefined as period with no wind to catch the sails, leaving a ship “stranded” in place on the ocean. If we are not making progress or we see hard work having no effect, we are like a ship stuck in the doldrums. Although not technically anchored in the harbor, sometimes we feel no progress is being made despite all of our effort. We must maintain our effort to make the journey happen even though it seems like we have lost all momentum. We must not let those who would take the wind away from us stop us from making progress!
  4. Discovery–The reward for leaving the comfort zone. The satisfaction of conquering the unknown. The feeling of accomplishment after reaching a goal. So many times I have found that it is the risk takers who are the ones who enjoy their tasks and make the most progress. Even though I doubted I could ever run 13 miles at one time, I found that not only could I do it, but I could enjoy it and feel better about myself for having attempted it. The same is true in our profession. I know several teachers who were afraid of using technology until they tried and now they are pioneering new things in their classrooms for the benefit of their students.

What about you? Are you willing to take some risks….step out of your comfort zone? Start by clicking on the comment link below a start a discussion on change!

To Be Continued…….

2 thoughts on “A Note in a Bottle

  1. Woodrow Wilson had a pretty good quote about change: “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”

    Here at PHS there have been a lot of changes in the three years since I’ve been here. But we need more things to change. Our students deserve it. Can we offer a better education for our kids? Yes. Can we make high school more meaningful and relevant? Yes.

    In order to do this and succeed, we must have better communication between the students, teachers, staff, and administration. In a school of any size, rumors fly and facts float away. (Or should I say sail away?) 🙂

    I think people know that I like change. Do you want to learn how to use Audacity and create podcasts with your students? I’ll help you. Do you want to use Moodle to create an online classroom? I’ll help you.

    I’m game for anything that gets kids involved with their learning!

  2. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    Some things work well here, but some things don’t and need to be changed. I think our biggest challenge is to figure exactly WHAT needs to be fixed and not rushing into changes that are being made just for the sake of change.

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