The 100 days of school milestone has arrived! This means there have been at least 100 opportunities to make an impact in and around our schools. As a teacher, the impact focus is on student performance. As a leader, the impact focus is on teacher performance.
A large predictor of whether performance will increase relates to whether the person performing is willing to take risks. Risks force us out of our comfort zones. It takes new strategy and perspective to take a risk. In the end, what develops inside a risk taker is bravery.
The equation thus looks like this:
BRAVERY –> RISK TAKING = NEW SKILL/EXPERIENCE
This tells us that the single behavior of taking a risk catapults performance for both students and teachers. As a result, more risk taking is necessary in our schools for the growth of all stakeholders.
It’s commonplace for younger students, grades PK-2, to celebrate their 100 straight days of learning journey. Many times it is their first time in a school setting so it’s quite the milestone. Plus, it is significant in that students have then learned how to count from 0 to 100.
What we know about milestones is often a habit develops as a result of a repeated action. Just like young students practice counting and routinely coming to school to learn, the repeated action for 100 days make the new habits stick.
We all should be celebrating a 100 day milestone of any new habit we are developing.
Risk Taking for Students
It’s important to introduce the idea of risk taking to students. Read books on the concept. Model risk taking in your own life. Set academic goals for how to take risks in the classroom. The more opportunities students have to practice taking risks in a safe place, the greater the likelihood they’ll take risks in the outside world that lead to impactful growth personally and professionally.
Looking for ideas for how to celebrate 100 days of learning in the classroom? Try the 100th Day of School Activity Pack.
Risk Taking for Teachers
Just because teachers are adults doesn’t mean they are risk taking pros. In fact, many adults are risk averse. They prefer the safety of routine, even if that routine is not helping them grow. In fact, that imaginary safety net is stopping their growth potential.
Our job as teacher leaders is to empower teachers to take risks in the classroom because those risks turn into new skills and expertise. This not only benefits the proficiency of the teacher but the achievement of the students in that classroom as well.
An easy way to encourage teachers to take risks is to set up a supportive climate- one that would reward or celebrate risk taking, even if it ends in failure. Dreaming big is only productive if those dreams are turned into action steps so that the dream comes to fruition.
An example would be teachers taking one risk per day and tracking their progress over the next 100 days. Teachers can journal their struggles and triumphs as an outlet. As the leader, you could set up mini milestones to celebrate (ie. 25, 50 75 and 100 days) to normalize the risk-taking culture. Doing this as a staff will build momentum and accountability.
Grab the Showing Bravery Every Day Tracker & Journal to increase risk taking in the classroom for teachers.
It’s up to you to decide how to build risk taking into your student and teacher growth models. Building a habit of risk taking will transform the learning and leading in your building.
Go Be Great!
How can you continue to be a risk taker as a learner or leader?