Undo is Overrated
August 12, 2020
My daughter recently uttered the most profound question,
“Do you ever wish you had an ‘undo’ button in life?”
Now, I’d like to tell you that she was musing over some major life lesson, but the truth is she was simply reading and dropped her bookmark, losing her place in the book. This is the type of thing you need an ‘undo’ button for when you’re young.
A Time to Make Mistakes
Nevertheless, the question got me thinking. I’m sure we’ve all had moments when we wished we could simply press ‘undo’ and take something back. This is true for both life and the classroom. These last few months in particular have been an exercise in trial and error, with educators trying new ideas that don’t always work. Although ‘undo’ really isn’t an option (at least not yet, my daughter is working on it though), the trick is to not let the absence of ‘undo’ prevent us from actually doing.
The uncomfortable truth is that we are all going to make mistakes in the coming months. It’s only natural. We’re headed into a year of teaching with social distancing, remote education, and countless other challenges we have never faced before. We have no guarantee that students will engage with our strategies, that learning will be evident, or that virtual classrooms will provide the support students need. As one educator so aptly stated, “We’re learning to fly the plane as we build it.”
A Time for Growth
It’s easy to get paralyzed by this knowledge. To fall into monotonous routines of teaching and hope something we do ends up sticking with students through the rest of this crazy year. This avoids risks, true, but depressed, lackluster teaching will only produce depressed, lackluster students. We should strive for more. We may not have an ‘undo’ button, but we certainly have a ‘redo’ button.
For my part, these past few months have reminded me that there’s value in making mistakes. Through testing and experimentation, we learn what strategies work best for our students and classrooms. It’s how we’ve been able to compile tools, discover new ideas for virtual learning, and help support our fellow educators. We’re going to make a lot of mistakes this school year, but that’s ok. Instead of wishing for an ‘undo’ button, use this as an opportunity to grow, adapt, and learn alongside your students.
So, go ahead. Try something new.
Make a mistake you can’t undo.
We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote healthy Social-Emotional Learning, simply follow this link!
*Today’s image is from Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg, get your copy today!