Skip to content

Are you ready to jump?

Who said January is the time for change? For us, it’s more often a September calling. Opportunities pop up all around. When the window for change comes, do you teeter on the edge then back in where it’s safe?  This message is for everyone who is comfortably stuck and knows it.

When opportunity for motivation, inspiration or expansion knocks, take it.  Don’t be afraid. Don’t stay in your comfortable and secure rut. Don’t curb your professional (or personal) growth because you think you can’t. You know it’s not good for you.  You know it’s not good for your students.  You know it’s not good.  If you’re teetering back and forth on a decision to take a chance for something better, let me be the push you need to do it.

Mix things up
PPP is a great starting point for teachers to structure a lesson, but if you teach in this or one way all the time, you’re not maximising the opportunity for reaching all students.  You’re not giving yourself or the students the benefits of different approaches: task-based, project-based, CLIL, something different. Try activities and methods you’re not comfortable with.  Learning is not just on the students’ end.

Use unfamiliar materials
Inspiration for change can come from everywhere, not just the resources you’ve become familiar with.  Move away from sticking to the coursebook (does this even need to be said anymore?). Go to the library (or bookstore) and check out a resource you’ve never looked at before.  Find an activity you would normally overlook.  Try it out by adapting it for your context.

Collaborate with a colleague of other programs.  Learn about activities they use that works in their contexts.  Can it be modified to suit yours?  Some form of it likely can. Hearing (or better yet observing) how they do things can often be a great mode of inspiration even if what they do doesn’t directly apply.  I recently discovered novel in an hour from mainstream K-12 teachers.

Always wanted to try out 360Cities, Soundcloud or some other web tool but were always too shy? Start with it as a homework task and see where it goes from there.

Take that new job
Too many times we get too comfortable with the role we’ve been doing for so long that we can do it blindfolded and virtually absently.  You know you want to try something different yet you fear that change. What if I don’t like it? What if I can’t do it? It’s easier to stay where I am. Yes, it’s easier to give up than grow too. You never know what benefits this change will bring you, but you certainly know your comfortable rut won’t bring you any of them.

Make this the year you make that change you know is needed.   Are you ready to jump?

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Naomi Epstein

I just read on Ceci’s blog that you are going to write about “change” and here’s your post!
And what a post! Maybe we should print it out and stuff into the teacher’s school mailboxes and hang it on notice boards (though I would have to translate it first…). I have a sneaky suspicion that those who are active on “blogosphere” are more open to change and experimenting.
perhaps next post should be a poll – how to spread the word of this post?
A pleasure to follow your blog!
Thanks for fixing the comment issue!

Naomi Epstein

Forgot to say – WHAT a picture!

Vicky Loras

Hi Tyson!

What a great post (again!).

I made a very big jump two years ago by coming to Switzerland. It was really tough for me and I can say that this year I am finally feeling great and content, both with my life and my teaching. I have started for instance using Dogme-like approaches in my classes – it is something completely different from what I used to do and I must say, I love it and so do my students!

I love your idea of visiting a bookstore to browse – that is one of the best ways to get new ideas (it has worked for me so many times).

The idea of making new beginnings in Septmeber is great for us teachers. I cannot remember who said it, but someone said once on Twitter that we teachers are lucky, because every year we can make a new beginning in our profession.

Totally agree with Naomi that we should print this post out and give it to others as well! I’m defintely pinning it to my bulletin board to look at every day. I love your concept of change and getting out of a rut.

About the song you chose, coincidentally it is one of my favourites by Madonna for a special reason: in the beginning here when things were not really that rosy for me, my older sister who also lives here told me “This should be your song, you made a jump, don’t ever look back as it says!”.

4C is offically one of my favourite blogs!!!

Thanks so much Tyson,

Vicky Loras

I’d love to share that story Tyson. It was one of the most difficult decisions we ever had to make. Everything is going well now, thankfully.

Think Week, PD week, count me in, whatever you plan to call it or do : ) Things have changed to the best, which means I can take time off more easily – whoop!


Tara Benwell

I totally agree with you and Vicky about bookstores. They are my #1 inspiration when I need a change. (Or libraries) Have you heard of Think Week? I think every teacher should have one:

Super inspiring post… Can I have 2 #blogmust today??? 😉

david mearns

Hi Tyson, great post! You are the epitomy of all that is colaboration what with your posts and tweets, blogs and ideas. Since I am relatively new to both platforms mentioned above I am so impressed and enthused by the extraordinary mount of colaboration that is going on electronically. THAT is the unfortunate issue: WE are preaching to us, the converted, about collaboration and what that means to us. The sad truth is the people who need to be collaborating more and more are those ‘teachers’ who refuse to explore, expand and develop their tired and weary methods. I don’t want to make this another negative rant about those that don’t because I have some good news on that front. I was contacted yesterday by some colleagues who are making waves about coming onboard with technology in their classrooms and with 24/7 access for their students via twitter et al. So, the news is filtering down and hopefully by 2015 we can have a much more substantial state of affiars in collaborative terms with everyone bar those who have been resigned to their beach house in the sky dream that will never go away. I guess what I am saying is thanks for the great message and lets all keep plugging away at making those colleagues of ours who would be so happy if they would only give your and our sentiment the benefit of the doubt

Anne Hodgson

My big “jump” this year was teaching a mixed level monolingual class that spoke an L1 that I don’t speak, Spanish, as part of my diploma course. Actually, the whole course was a “jump”, but the most challenging, rewarding part was the teaching. I simply didn’t understand them when they spoke English, why they were using particular structures and words, so it was a fascinating process of familiarization, learning to to research their language, stage content to suit their needs, and come up with tasks. It forced me to think very hard about absolutely everything I do in the classroom, about learner training, about cultural factors… and now I’m hungry for more.
One “jump” is very likely to lead to another. 😉

Dina Dobrou

Read it while listening to the song. Really inspiring indeed!
The first line says it all for me, really!
I’ve always felt the “start of the year” is September. It almost feels like I never left school…
Always excited as a student, I waited to see what “the new year” had in store for me.
As teachers, it’s true, we should strive to engage, inspire and motivate our learners, but also ourselves!
As Mahatma Gandhi put it:
Be the change you wish to see in the world!
A great post to start “the year” with!
Yup! Get ready to jump!
Thanks Tyson! 🙂

Dina Dobrou

Ah, that ‘school feeling’ rocks, doesn’t it? I’m gonna stay forever young in this profession! 😛

I took my first jump when joining twitter and PLNs about a year ago. Since then I’ve been greatly inspired and both my teaching and own learning have taken a different dimension.

I intend to keep jumping as per your recommendation and stepping out of my comfort zone as per Shelly’s recommendation!

Looking forward to another “action filled” post, Tyson! 🙂


Love this post! I’ve jumped many times in my life, and I would like to add that it’s important to jump when the time is right. If I can make an analogy to your picture there, you might decide to jump when your current situation is feeling a little too crowded or claustrophobic. Three fish in one little cup! Same people, same spaces, same routine. It’s probably time to shake things up. JUMP!
When you get into that bigger fishbowl though, there are new corners to explore, new walls to find. Jumping too soon, you might miss out on all that the fishbowl has to offer towards your development and knowledge. It might make sense to stay a while and see how it all works. Jumping now might not be a good idea. Just got here!
Once you HAVE explored all the nooks and crannies, you may find that the fishbowl is now too small or too boring for you. Time to JUMP!
Another ‘good time’ to jump is if you know that things are not working out for you. Maybe that new fishbowl you’ve just jumped into is full of bleach instead of water. It will poison you. Time to JUMP!
I think you are right that we need to take opportunities when they present themselves, but we also have to be conscious of when we need to take a little hop that will stir the water a little, and when we need to take a big leap that will completely transform us!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x