education · professional development

Staycation: Having to Change Mindset & Try Things Differently-personal lesson for an educator.

I am a creature of habit.  There is ease in doing things that have always been done a certain way.  A few years ago, my husband and I jumped from tent camping to the RV world…and I will never go back! We can now weather, rain, snow, cold, and heat without having to suffer or cancel our trip.  We even now plan almost 30 days of vacation every year with the RV.  June has become our annual trip to Cape Cod. It’s a perfect break after the hectic end of the school year before summer school begins, and the Cape is not crazy busy.  I count down the days to this trip. We plan out our favorite food joints to hit, think about the walks we will take with the dogs, and plan out how we are going to sit and relax. 

Well, this year, two days before we were set to leave, my husband was driving to work and a deer ran into the front of his truck. Thankfully, my husband was unharmed, but sadly his truck wasn’t.  The truck was what we used to pull the RV.  The trip had to be canceled. We were in despair for this trip was just what we both needed. So we had to figure out what to do to take the break, but doing it from home.  We are not good at being at home and just relaxing.  There are always things to accomplish, chores to do, and daily life to attend to. 

The Staycation Pact: My husband and I made a pact.  For most of the days we would have been away, we would force a staycation.  We found new places to go hiking, finding some great hikes around the state.  We “yelped” new lunch places in those areas and around the home.  We sat and read, napped, or watched movies.  No chores except the necessary dishes and laundry….No running errands…No accomplishing daily things. And while this was not the vacation we had hoped for, we did have a great time, were able to relax and find that home could be a staycation place.  I found that pushing myself out of the box with this vacation was along the lines of a growth mindset.

So what does this have to do with education? How many educators find themselves in a teaching groove that is comfortable, easy, and that just follows the everyday routines of daily life? It’s easy to do.  We find things that work and just keep repeating them. How often do we force ourselves to step outside the box and take the same lesson, the same classroom, and the same students and look to do something different?  I am often motivated right after I attend a conference or find a great idea on Twitter or Pinterest, but not everyday.  After my forced staycation, I realized that a mindset of how things go are sometimes in need of forcing to stop, step back and change even if it’s outside the comfort zone.  We ask students to do this all the time.  As adults, as teachers, we need to do as we say not as we get in the habit of doing.

My goal this fall is to regularly force myself to stop going with the comfortable way I have always approached certain classroom routines or lessons, and see if there is a new (effective) way I can do things.  I will not wait for a conference or idea to present itself, but rather find the lesson or routine that needs to be re-looked at and seek to explore other possibilities.  Rather than applying the idea of growth mindset to those areas for which I seek out, I need to apply growth mindset to the areas I deliberately don’t apply it to.  That would be true growth mindset.  Stay tuned…..

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