Problem or Opportunity?

It’s time to get excited. There are opportunities in all of this, we just have to find them.

After watching the chaos unfold around what school for Term 2, 2020 will look like, there is some reassurance in knowing we are all moving to online learning. Gone is the uncertainty of what it will look like, what are you supposed to do and if you will be working at all.

We now know schools are open for those who need us, and for everyone else, we will see them online. With this all confirmed, it’s time to get excited about teaching again!

For a little while now we have spent a bit of time focusing on the problems, because let’s be honest there have certainly been a few, and as humans, we naturally tend to gravitate to the hard, unknown, problem space first. It has something to do with our negativity bias, it’s not intended, it’s just the way we are. It was initially much easier to see the problems, to complain, to focus on the hard things than to stop and see the opportunities we now have. 

Now we know that though, I think it is time we put the problems down and instead start to focus on the opportunities that now exist.

So how do we do this?

The problems we perceive with school, teaching online and our jobs changing as we know it all play a role here, we need to know what we see as the problems to be able to also find the opportunity. It’s the law of polarity; this goes with that, good with bad, yin with yang and salt with pepper. For every one action, there is a counteraction. Everything has an opposite.

So what were the problems we were focusing on, talking about or stomping our feet over?

Here’s a quick list of some of the most common talked about things (of which I know one or two or maybe all will sound familiar):

  • I don’t have time
  • It’s too hard
  • It’s not the same
  • There is too much to learn
  • It’s too big a change
  • I can’t do it
  • The students can’t do it
  • Parents don’t understand

Agree? Thought so…

The beauty of this though is that now we know the problems, we can easily turn these into opportunities to make teaching online exciting, successful and just as good as if we were all back at school together.

How?

We use these problems as a guide to write questions which will help us see opportunities right in front of us. Take a look:

ProblemOpportunity
I don’t have timeWhat can I do with the time I have?
It’s too hardWhat is easy?
It’s not the sameWhat can I keep the same?
There is too much to learnWhat learning is essential?
It’s too big a changeWhat doesn’t have to change?
I can’t do itWhat can I do?
The students can’t do itWhat can our students do?
Parents don’t understandWhat do I need to communicate with parents?

By simply reframing our problems, and using them as questions, the opportunities for us now really are endless…

It’s time to get excited about teaching again, it’s time to get creative, to go back to what we know makes a great learning experience for our students, it’s time to bring that to life!

I have a feeling this new chapter is going to be better than we anticipate.

Note: Want to try this activity for yourself?
Here’s How…

  1. List all the problems you feel exist. Write without thinking. Let It all come out.
  2. Turn each problem into a question so you can now see the opportunities that exist.
  3. Answer the questions as best you can and get back to being that amazing teacher you know you are!