I read this quote this week. It reminded me of risky teaching, a recent theme that has been playing in my head. Teacher Tom often talks about it. Deborah of Teach Preschool mentiones it as well. Tim Gill's posts often involve it. And many other bloggers address it on some level. In fact, I've blogged about it myself from time to time.
But I realized today as I was thinking about this: risky can be different for every teacher. I've known this, at least on some level. I did hit on this idea somewhat last week in my Still Learning post. But today this idea leapt to the front of my brain.
For some teachers, allowing children to explore paint in free form is risky. They haven't done that before. I've encountered teachers who think it's risky to let kids move around the room freely, choose what to do, choose when to leave and move on; that seem chaotic to them. Level of risk depends on experience and, perhaps, temperament. Some teachers work to plan many precautions, working to make sure that risk is as low as possible.
I want a safe environment. But I agree with Adler's statement above: too many precautions are a danger. A danger to what? Exploration... imagination... creativity... learning.
I'm learning to be a more risky teacher - and to release some of those precautions. Risk for me often involves trying things that I don't know or plan the outcome. Sometimes it fails, like with my rope light. (We're going to try that again soon.) Sometimes it becomes a great success, like using sand outside the box. Sometimes, it's just releasing some control and saying yes to a child's idea, like allowing a counting activity to turn into a construction project.
Risky teaching - it allows kids to grow...and teachers, too. What's a risk you have recently taken...or would like to take?