How Do You Encourage Colleagues to Take Risks?

by | 01.15.20

Teacher2Teacher is a community that shares effective practices and innovations so educators can connect and grow together.

We’ve heard from you and your fellow teachers that January is a time to try new things and take risks in your classroom – and that sometimes you need a little encouragement to introduce those new strategies or routines to your practice. 

What would you say to a fellow educator who’s considering trying something new in their practice? Take a look at some pieces of motivation and wisdom shared by the T2T community, then comment with your own advice!

  • Offer to have a co-lesson. Sometimes being led through a new idea along with the students helps. —Teacher Wanda F. Miller
  • I ask questions. What are the pros & cons of trying? How will they create space to plan, implement, and reflect? Are the benefits worth the time, hard work and iterations? Will it improve student learning AND sustain or lower their workload? —Educator Joseph Manfre
  • We plan it together, both do it and then compare outcomes. Tweak if we liked it and trash it if it was awful. —Teacher Katie Melcher
  • I always offer to be in the room with them during the lesson. If they are SUPER hesitant, I offer to lead it so they can gain comfort. I once had a teacher say to me: “Risks are a lot less scary with someone by your side.” —Educator Sarah Kiefer
  • Patience foremost. Teachers are sometimes resistant to new things simply because they don’t have time for one more thing, or to investigate and understand it. What they do now works fine, so why change? Modeling, talking about the “whys,” and getting buy-in behind a strategy are all important. And validation of old ideas – don’t toss ‘em if they work well! Add these new strategies to your teacher toolkit. 🤓 —Educator Rebecca Segar
  • First you have to create a safe space for taking risks. Innovation is a bumpy road, so failure is part of the process. Create a cohort of colleagues willing to try together. —Teacher Jo Gordon
  • One of the ways I encourage #TeacherFriends to try new practices is to invite them into my class to watch my kids in action. Then, if they want to try it, we can plan a lesson together. —Teacher Tika Epstein
  • Our PLC is our safe space where we can be vulnerable and courageous and discuss the new methods/techniques that we want to try. We encourage each other during the process and then celebrate what worked for us and ways we can improve. —Teacher SJ Herl
  • I think the best way is to model vulnerability! I video myself teaching something new and then meet with colleagues. It is so powerful because they are able to see me taking a risk – and see how they can do the same but even better! —Educator Jennifer Appel

Click here to read more insights from the T2T community! And if you’d like to keep the conversation going, join in by following us on Twitter and Instagram!

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