Thursday, January 9, 2014

Are You Open to the Word Change?

Change is a word that brings both opportunities and controversies to daily life. While it is essential to be open to new possibilities in this world of altering lifestyles, it is a fearful prospect for many. Even for those who are reflective, change is a conscious act of embracing the new while shedding the old. Sometimes, we do not recognize that changes or updates in life or in our instructional practices are needed. But we do know that choices need to be made. When multiple decisions are facing me and I am already at the overwhelmed mark, I find myself wavering on what is the right choice for that moment. But, if I look at the prospects with a clear head, choice becomes the catalyst for change.
As a third generation baker, I am always mindful of the choices needed to make an occasion festive. Finding the right measurements and ingredients to create a balance are essential parts of the art of baking. Under the tutelage of my grandmother and mother, I learned that baking is more than an act. It is a creative art that incorporates elements of design, technique, and presentation. Careful planning and skill are needed to create delectable confections. Bakers must choose the right blend of ingredients and be organized to manage the steps in a timely fashion. They need to remain mindful and stay in the moment as they hone their craft. What goes into the mix, hopefully comes out a worthy confection, at the hands of a skillful chef.

Isn't this similar to teaching profession? Teachers make choices on a daily basis. They are mindful of what goes into the mix as they blend strategies, practices, and protocols to create lessons that engage students in the process of learning. Educators step back and engage in professional development to refine the teaching arts at the hands of the master chefs. They seek balance and continuously hone their craft to incorporate design, technique, and the hooks to deliver effective lessons. Teachers, as reflective practitioners, are mindful of the data that informs their practice. They need that ingredient to roll out the dough for eager tasters of learning. 

As we assemble the cake, bakers notice if one more layer should be added. Risks may be taken to provide worthy samplings of artistic creations but patience and reflection are needed. Weighing the possibilities may lead to leaving the comfort zone. But decisions could lead to outcomes not anticipated. What if the ingredients used create a heavy mixture or the presentation lacks luster? So, too, in teaching the choices we place into the mix may be too heavy for the recipe and our timing may be off. 

What ifs are always present in the process of creating a recipe but they should not prevent taking the proverbial leap of faith. What is the worst that can happen-the crust droops, the lesson flops? These moments of seemingly unsuccessful events may appear daunting but they should not deter the craftsman from moving forward. The mixture that does not yield the right results can always be changed. At times like these, it is best to pause, reflect, and take next steps to create the best recipe for the moment. If we are open to change, it can lead to new possibilities. Change needs to be embraced to move to the next level of productivity. 

Are you open to the word change? If so, check what goes into your next mixture and decide if you can change one ingredient, measurement, or timing to create a confection that merits attention.