I am writing this after having spent the day with my family, including my parents who are visiting from Sweden. Swedes celebrate Christmas on the 24th, and we had a wonderful day with lots of great food, presents, games, and all kinds of fun.
One of the things that I really like about my parents is that they are never afraid to try something new. They are both retired (or in the case of my father, should be retired, but works more than ever), and they spend as much time as they can traveling around both Sweden and Europe. They are the type of travelers who will go to a place, have few or no plans, but instead explore a city or country hour by hour, always open to any experiences that might come their way.
Although I am still not as good as they are when it comes to trying new things, I think I have made some headway in this area, especially during the past couple of decades. Growing up, I was very uncomfortable with anything that was not familiar to me, but I have now reached a point in my life where I am excited at getting outside my comfort zone.
I really believe that this development has helped me become a better teacher. I would argue that one of my strengths as a teacher is that I am always willing to try something new in the classroom. Sometimes it works well, other times it does not, but the simple fact of attempting something new helps me develop as a teacher, and it hopefully offers my students a more varied approach to learning.
And perhaps most importantly, trying new things has become fun to me. Not just in the classroom, but in other areas of my life as well. Three years ago, my wife dragged me to Hot Yoga, after telling me how good it would be for me. Despite having always been involved in sports, I was not all that keen on trying any kind of yoga, much less hot yoga. But, to my surprise and satisfaction, I absolutely loved it, and have been practicing ever since. When I tell my friends that I do hot yoga, they still look at me in a funny way, as to many of them, I am probably the least likely person to participate in this kind of exercise.
I guess the point of this somewhat rambling post is to encourage you to be as fearless as possible, and to be open to new experiences. Whether that is a new way of teaching a lesson, or a new form of exercise, give it a try. It might end in complete failure, or it might be the greatest thing you have ever done. The point is, you will never know if you do not try. That is one of the best lessons my parents have ever taught me