Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

They say that a change is as good as a rest. That maybe your soul is seeking a spark that sleep just can’t offer. For any educator regardless of position, June holds the promise of rest, relax, breathe, repeat. Like you, I have a list of responsibilities to close the loop on learning for this year. However, while I attend to reflecting and wrapping up the learning for this school year, I find myself gearing up and preparing for my next steps. Perhaps ‘dive’ is a better word.

I face two brand new experiences in the coming season. In July, I join a team of global educators through Limited Resource Teacher Training travelling to Uganda for a month of professional learning with rural Ugandan teachers and students. And in September, I’ll join a team at Bonaventure Meadows as VP with Thames Valley District School Board.

Breathe.

The anticipation of both moves saturates me at once with dread and excitement. I’ve been pondering a graphic for the past few days since @sbruyns shared it via twitter. I find myself waffling across these categories. At 3am, I’m clamouring for comfort zone, paralysed by questions that typically start with ‘what if?’  At 11am, I’m all ‘bring it on’ and ‘I got this.’ I am reminded that if we claim to be lifelong learners, yet never put ourselves in the vulnerable position of truly learning, how can we possibly empathize with our students who navigate these uncharted waters daily? Don’t get me wrong. I want to be competent. But I also want to learn how others think, view and interact to make sense of the world. We can learn at any age, from any age.  Recently I came across a tweet that challenged me:  if you don’t have a millenial mentor, find one!  I intend to.  When I head to Uganda on July 2, I’ll no doubt be the oldest, but I know I’ll be learning alongside brand new teachers I’m serving as well. When you’re in a foreign country, there’s no chance of relying on how you’ve always done it. Instead, you are pushed just beyond your current skill set to innovate, to problem solve, to find another way.

When I join the Bonomagic team, I will be learning from every single person walking those halls…the students, staff, admin, parents and community. Each of them hold a valuable piece of background knowledge that I will need to be responsive to their needs. Whenever you intentionally parachute in to a new community, whether in Kanungu, Uganda or East London, you have an opportunity to expand your view, customize your toolkit, exercise your empathy and grow as you get out of your comfort zone.

So, what’s pushing you out of your comfort zone?

Take a risk. Make a move.

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