Tuesday, July 19, 2011

do something that scares you

Today was a good day to be a college teacher. 

I lectured on Chapter 8: Managing Emotions. 

We talked about ways to stop ruminating on guilt, worry, and fear. 
We talked about the importance of pushing yourself to step outside your comfort zone so you can grow and progress.
We talked about needing to do things that scare you. 

And then I gave all my students a chance to step outside their comfort zones. 

I had them write down one achievement that changed them dramatically as well as something that they would fix in their life if they had a magic wand. 

We made a big circle of desks.

I explained how public speaking can cause anxiety for a lot people and that talking about yourself, especially your achievements, can feel uncomfortable. 
Depending on how far they wanted to push themselves outside their comfort zone, they could address the class standing in the middle of the circle, standing up at their desk, or remaining seated. That was their choice to make. 

We went around the whole circle of 30 students and everyone, myself included, shared their greatest achievement and what they would change in their life. 

This is always my favorite class of the semester. 
Students really share. Tears are shed. 

It's amazing to get to see a glimpse into who all my students truly are, what they have been through, and triumphed over. By the time the last person has shared, there is a very special feeling in the room. It's a feeling that I'm sure is rarely felt in a college classroom. People feel validated, connected to each other, and inspired. 

Classes like today's class make me want to be a better, stronger person.
I walk away wanting to be more like my students. 
I also walk away in borderline shock that I actually just got paid to have that experience. 

Yup. 
Today was a good day to be a college teacher. 

24 comments:

Autumn said...

You sound like an amazing college teacher and I love this idea.

Evi Figgat said...

They should have that lesson included in the high school English curriculum. Hope I'm can create that feeling in my class like you do :)

Vivian said...

Cheers to you! College was a great experience for me because I once had a professor who truly got an insight on who I was.

communikate. said...

What an amazing class! Where do you teach at?

Jenna said...

Oh my goodness- what an incredible exercise to do! It has made me think about what I would consider my greatest achievement...Hmmm...

Cindy said...

You're a good person and college professor, Sam. :)

Rad Rachel said...

Dang, I need that class. You go girl!

LaynahRose said...

I wish I was in your class!

L!$@ said...

That sounds awesome and scary all at the same time!! Good on ya though. It is always when I get pushed out of my comfort zone that I learn the most.

♥ Nadine ♥ said...

That sounds like an awesome experience... I'd love to have a class like that!!

P.S.: I also love that shirt. So cool! XO.

Resourceful Red said...

how awesome!!

http://resourcefulred.blogspot.com

Abby said...

that is so amazing!! I wish I could take your class!

Jessi said...

That is so great! None of my college professors ever did anything like that.

Jenna said...

That is amazing. I feel lucky to read your insights on your blog. Thank you for sharing them with us. Now we can all pretend to be in your class! I wish.

When I graduated from college my aunt sent me a square greeting card that says, 'do one thing every day that scares you. -eleanor roosevelt' on the front. Nothing else, just white print on a black background. I kept it and 2 years later, it's still on my fridge. I think it's just about the wisest advice ever!

Annie said...

Posts like this make me want to take your class so badly. I wish I lived close enough!! Maybe one day life will take me your direction! :) I love these few small moments in education where the setting for true self-discovery and growth occurs. They are rare and always treasured.

Mrs. Janney said...

LOVE this post!! That's all I wanted to say.

:)

Amanda said...

That sounds so special!

AE Jones said...

Very, very awesome. What a great experience, for them and for you.

Kari said...

You are so beautiful.
Seriously.
Just stunning.

This post makes me miss teaching,
but I love it anyways.

:)

Julie said...

Classes like this are exactly the reason I want to be a college professor. You just gave me even more encouragement to push toward my goal.

Caitlin said...

Amazing post. I've thought of doing college teaching as well. <3 Thanks for sharing.

Jess said...

As an elementary teacher this really inspired me for this upcoming school year. Every year I try to start out with an amazing attitude and (keep it) which is sometimes the hard part. As a teacher you learn there will the good, bad & ugly to your job-but those good days-like the one you just described or the ones for me & my little 4th graders when they actually understand what a simile is & are happy about it :))) its ALL worth it! xoxo

Heather said...

also a good day to be a student. Those kind of teachers, and classes are few and far between, but by far, the most valuable classes you can ever take!

-Heather from lifeofapasseri.blogpsot.com

Ryan Adair said...

This made me want to be one of your students. :)