When Your Ideas Are Bigger Than You Are

Hi, I’m Kendra, and I have big ideas. I have ideas so big that I don’t know what to do with them. I have ideas that are overwhelmingly awesome, yet I don’t know how to apply them. I have ideas that are so amazing that I don’t even know where to start with them. My ideas stop me in my tracks and won’t let me pass.

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This is what has happened time and again the past week or so, even with trying to figure out what to blog about this week. I just have so many ideas, and want to do so much with them that I have no idea what to do. So instead of being able to show and share all of these awesome ideas that I have I’m just left in silence with the ideas chasing themselves around in my head.

I have ideas about the math unit I am currently working on. I imagine students being engaged in hands-on activities and never picking up a textbook to do repetitive questions. I hope to incorporate a project for students to work on and show their learning instead of writing a test, and making wonderful connections with the students throughout the process. I want to do things that are out of the ordinary, but not too crazy that students won’t be able to understand the meaning of them. I want to try new things, yet know that I can’t do something crazy every day too.

I get ideas from all of the books I read, and all of the books I want to read. I literally have a bookcase full of books I have been wanting to read and just haven’t made the time to do so. I have wonderful books that I have found that I hope will one day inspire the students I teach to read and explore. I have books about innovative thinking, about how the mind processes, and how to reduce the attachment to textbooks in the classroom.

I’m inspired by other teachers I talk to, by videos I watch on YouTube, by blogs that I read, and educators I follow on Twitter. The problem is that I’m so overwhelmed by inspiration that I’m not sure where or how to turn them into practical applications. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a “real” outlet to put any of these ideas into yet. Sure, I get to plan all sorts of lessons and units for my university classes, but as of right now no one is actually going to experience them. I think that’s why I’m so excited to work on my math unit, because I know that it will actually be experienced by students.

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The trouble now is that even though I know that the unit that I will plan will be something real, I still don’t quite know how to process all of the ideas I have for it. I am hoping that over the break for Reading Week I’ll have some more time to lay out my ideas and turn them into some amazing lessons. I think I have a plan, and I know that I have some great ideas, I just need to put them into action. I know that this will be a constant thing as a teacher, and I just have to remember that learning is always a journey, even as a teacher. I’ll always be finding new ideas, interpreting them in my own way and adding bits of pieces of them to my teaching.

So help me out here friends, what are some of your big ideas? How do you manage them? What are some ways you’ve incorporated some of your big ideas into teaching?

4 thoughts on “When Your Ideas Are Bigger Than You Are

  1. Ferrah says:

    It can be very easy to become overwhelmed with great ideas and things you want to try. In fact, I would say that this is one of the possible downsides of being a connected educator. So many new and exciting ideas are presented via your online connections that it can make it challenging to know what to try, what will work for you, and not feel like you need to do it all. Of course, the great thing about being a connected educator is also all of the new exciting ideas!

    One thing that I worked through this fall with my intern was understanding that it can be great to incorporate many big ideas and engaging, active experiences but it’s okay that not every activity done in the classroom fall into these categories. It is true that hands-on, collaborative, experiential activities are the things the students will remember but it can be tiring trying to do it all in every subject, every period, of every day. It is perfectly OK to have some down days where the activities are slow paced, individual and traditional style tasks. As a teacher, I have been in the position where after 4 days of nonstop, high-energy activities both me and the students feel the need for a quiet, reflective, low energy, slow paced day. There is nothing wrong with that. You will learn through practice what types of activities are doable in your situation and with your students and which ones you can bypass. When reading a great book written by another educator, try to pick one or two aspects that you can comfortably incorporate into your teaching rather than trying to become the teacher who wrote the book!

    You will have opportunity during your 3 week pre- internship to feel this out and experiment with what works for you and what works for your students. Try the exciting big ideas but be comfortable in the less extravagant moments as well. No one will expect every day to be fireworks, least of all your students and cooperating teacher( I’ve heard she’s awesome by the way.)

    • kendraroseleier says:

      Thanks Ferrah! Even as I wrote this blog post I could hear my mind saying “it’s ok, it’ll be all right, you’ll get there, just go one step at a time and little by little,” but it’s wonderful to hear it from a great teacher too, so thank you for that.
      I’m really looking forward to all the triumphs and trials that I’m sure I’ll experience in my 3 week pre-internship, and know my awesome co-operating teacher will be there for the support I need. 🙂

  2. April Hoffman says:

    Kendra,

    This post could not hit closer to home. Every thought you write down I am on the exact same page as you. Every lesson, every topic I want to make as exciting as I can for my students. It is easy to get swept up in the idea of going over the top for every single lesson; however, it is becoming more evident that this is not a realistic approach to take. The best thing we can do is create a balance that will allow our students to participate in engaging activities in different ways. I too always want to go with the biggest, brightest idea, and this will definitely be a challenge of mine to know when this is appropriate.

    I love hands on learning experiences — where my students take the lead role in their learning. I want to have something really big at the beginning and the end of a unit– something that the students can build up to in smaller pieces. I will let you know how this approach works out in my 3 week block! I feel like the best way to see what works for you is to experiment — don’t disregard something without trying it, because you never know. This is the time to dive head first into discovering the type of teacher you want to become.

    Also, we don’t need to feel pressured of doing everything at once. Experiment with one big idea, and try another one next time — building a wide range of learning experiences for our students one step at a time. Don’t burn yourself out by trying every big idea at once!

    With that said, I hope that you continue your big, innovative ideas, as this is what will separate you from the rest. Everyday you are pushing me to be more creative, more wild, and more engaging. I look forward to learning alongside you and watching our big ideas come to life!

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