Monday, October 5, 2015

Get in there and Jump!

I had a fun new experience this past weekend: I took my kids and nephews and nieces to an indoor trampoline park. You would think that I was there to be the responsible adult, but let's be honest: I was just the biggest kid in there. Here, this might help you picture the scene:

That's me, "levitating" with the smaller humans jumping around me...

Now, I've been on a trampoline before, obviously. But this was a brand new experience for me.

I bounced from floor to wall to floor to wall, flying in every direction.

I flew into the pit full of foam cubes, and struggled my way out again.

I tried my hand at trampolining my way to the basketball hoop--"Look, I'm Michael Jordan!" (Umm...nope. You're an awkward, middle-aged white dude, Dave...)

I jumped and jumped and bounced and bounced and flew as high as I possibly could.

I tried new things. It was fun, and satisfying--and tiring, honestly.

I loved this, even though I was exhausted after jumping for an hour. It was a "good" exhaustion. A "healthy" exhaustion, even--the kind of tiredness that only comes from working hard or playing hard, and taking joy in the work/play. And even though I'm still a little sore a few days later (I'm getting old, folks...) I'm so glad I released my inner child, threw inhibitions aside, and jumped. What I would have missed out on if I had just stood on the sidelines and watched others getting in there!


This has me thinking about how we sometimes behave as teachers.

How do we react when faced with something new? A new challenge, a new course, a new class of students, a new initiative...there is always something new, right?

Do we hang around the sidelines, content to watch?

Or do we jump in, work/play, and see how high we can fly?

Yep, me my hot pink socks...
I hope that you'll be brave enough to get in there and "jump." Yes, it might be exhausting. Yes, you might find a little pain that comes afterward. But what might you miss out on by staying on the sidelines?


  1. Oh my! I'm heading to a trampoline place for my grandson's 8th b-day party later this month - scared of the bruises I will incur, KNOWING I'll be jumping in! This post made me think of a teacher at my school who has been required to try a digital textbook for 2-4 weeks. She's already very frustrated her first week in, and she asked me for advice. I told her, "Know there is an end date, and you will be comfortable once again. Try different features of the pilot, and give them honest feedback, however brutal."
    She said back, "I like to do what works. Worksheets and packets work for me. If a kid loses them, I have extras. They won't just stop working like this program we're using. There are no glitches with worksheets and packets."
    This was an "aha moment" for me - I know that people like their comfort zone - so do I! Yet some people are okay heading out of them, because it truly IS "where the magic happens." She doesn't know, because she may have never experienced it. YES - we need to JUMP. We need to experience it all, so that we can be (safe) risk takers. We need to show students that we are willing to try things alongside them. I'm with you, Dave. We may be bruised and sore when some things are finished, but the journey is worth it.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Joy! Yep, I'm still a little stiff and sore from my jumping experience, even a few days later. But I'm glad I did it! I think it is the same for many teachers dealing with a changing school culture and changing expectations. I also really appreciate your point about being "(safe) risk takers." We need not be reckless in our jumping in...but what do we miss out on by not exploring something new?

  2. Honestly. I would NOT jump in on the trampolines.

    I will, however jump into most activities I ask students to do. And I jump into trying new things and learn from them even when they fail. I've tried computer scripted writing and reading programs that were supposed to make my students better readers and writers. they did not. But they did lead me down the road to flipped/blended learning and letting students learn at their own pace, not mine or a program's.

    I jumped into flipped learning and realized that as a teacher, I need more of a blended approach. A little bit of me. A little bit online.

    But not the trampoline :)

    1. Grateful for your feedback, friend! I love your intent--"jumping in to activities I ask students to do" seems fair! :-) Let's keep challenging each other to do just that!