Saturday, September 8, 2012

What Was I Afraid Of?

This Saturday morning, as I woke up thinking of a new student I have who struggles with a medical condition that requires some monitoring, my mind immediately went from how I can best help in the classroom, to how good it is to be informed firsthand, to how I now practically expect parents to tell me this stuff, to how grateful I am for email, to how I once was utterly and completely opposed to emailing with parents. While the topics jumped about, so did my emotions upon the final revelation. I was at once a bit embarrassed, then extraordinarily proud of my evolution.

That word, evolution, got a lot of play this year, as some powerful political and religious and civil rights leaders moved their positions on marriage equality. Critics pointed to the election year or social pressures as motivating factors in the changes, but for me, the bottom line was not how or why change occurred, but that it occurred. And I can apply that same philosophy to my own evolution(s), too: it's more important that I change and grow over time, not why I do or how it happens.

Interestingly, though, I realized that for me (and perhaps for many, many others), evolution almost always comes in fits and starts. I deny, refuse, oppose. I worry, fret, and rant. I slowly, slowly consider a theoretical application of the change. I research. I might even refute the validity of the evolution once more. Then, voila: I open the throttle and floor it. I guess you could say I'm a zero-to-sixty kind of evolutionist.

A short list reveals the recent educational changes I've at first debunked, poo-pooed, or just outright sworn I'd never support...and then gotten on the bandwagon about; besides the emailing (it's my preferred method of parental communication now), there's our district's BYOD policy (so far, so good this year), and flipping the classroom (a colleague is trying it this year and I'm a wee bit envious). And when it comes to my life outside of school, well, let's just say Evolution is my middle name (I'm thinking of the waistlines of jeans, child-rearing, and vegetarianism, just to name a very few areas in which I've evolved through the years).

I'm also thinking this morning of a dear friend who, having suffered a devastating loss this summer, is evolving by way of both a sloughing off and a realignment. By honoring her strength and self-preservation, I am also recognizing my own need for continual evolution and moving always forward. Whether educationally or personally, change is not only good, it is necessary. And sometimes, it's just plain fun.

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