“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing” – Innovator’s Mindset, George Couros.

No pressure.
Just be Amazing.

While reading the opening pages of The Innovator’s Mindset I immediately found myself full of questions about my teaching practice. Questions that led to ideas to try in my library program. Mostly half formed and fairly rambling but ideas non the less. But then there was this blog prompt offered as part of #IMMOOC “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing. How are you embracing change to spur innovation in your own context”. How do I know if what I am going to do is going to be amazing? Do I start with this idea or that one? It’s a little daunting and the kind of thing that often stops me in my tracks. That fear that any answer other than the “right” answer must be wrong.

Then I remembered this TED Talk by Mark Bezos

My take away from this talk was that all the time I spend waiting for the chance to be amazing, I might be missing the chance to be really great. I think it’s easy to focus on the word amazing in that quote above. Perhaps we and our students are better served by focusing on the idea of finding an opportunity to just try something. Perhaps I was selfishly thinking that the goal is that I should be amazing. And just perhaps, it isn’t all about me. If the focus is on on students, on their needs, outcomes and takeaways instead of whether my idea was amazing, I think it frees the teacher up to try things. It isn’t just about change for me, it’s about change for them and it should be driven by what they need most.

With this new perspective I can reflect on a few changes I’ve made that fall into the innovative category. One change is one I’ve blogged about in Sorry Melville, it’s not you it’s me. We decided to step away from the traditional Dewey Decimal System in order to focus on meeting the students’ needs instead of meeting the needs of an organisational system. I realized we were spending a lot of time teaching students to work within a system that didn’t match their thinking patterns. By changing the organization of the library, we could help students concentrate their energy and intellect connecting with information, ideas, and literature instead of wasting it on some type of scavenger hunt.

While this new outlook doesn’t mean I immediately have a clear and obvious path forward, it removes a substantial barrier to progress. I’m not changing so that I can be amazing, I need to approach things in an innovative way so that my students can be amazing. Oh, now that I can do.