Teach Outside Your Comfort
by Professor Joe Martin
It was the middle of the school year, and I was going through a rough
stretch when it seemed like nothing I tried was working with one particular class I
taught. I must note that although I wasn’t a beginning teacher, I was still
considered a new teacher with less than three years experience.
myself complaining to a colleague who always seemed to possess a positive attitude no
matter what the circumstances. I told him that I felt very uncomfortable about the
progress of my class, and many of them seemed to be lacking the necessary basic skills
to master the subject matter.
He proceeded to share a simple philosophy that
has transformed, not only my teaching career, but my personal life as well. He suggested
that having a challenging class like the one I had was a blessing more so than a burden.
He asked me, “Has this class made you more or less creative?”
course, I said, “more.” He asked, “Has this class caused you to be
more or less resourceful?” Again, I replied, “more.” He continued,
“Has this class led you to pray more or less?” And of course, I laughed and
said, “more.” And then he made his point.
He told me that the last thing a new teacher ever wants
to become is “comfortable.” He said that “comfort” breeds
complacency, which leads to a false sense of security. He said that whenever we get
comfortable, we tend to develop a false sense of confidence (i.e., security), believing
we’re in full control of a situation. Often times, this false sense of security
allows us to take things for granted, including our class.
saying this was always the case, but I agree that if we take a closer look at it, as it
relates to a marriage, it makes perfect sense. When couples first start dating, each
person usually works hard to figure out what the other person likes or dislikes, and
looks for creative and thoughtful ways to please the other person – no matter how
difficult it may be. But what happens when we “figure out” the other person?
We often stop doing the very thing(s) it took for us to win their heart in the first
I believe teaching can be viewed the same way. Often times, when a
subject, lesson, or class becomes so easy, it’s easy to shift into a pattern of
“cruise control.” We’ve all know that one veteran teacher who hasn’t
changed his or her curriculum, handouts, films, and/or tests in 15+ years. This type of
attitude of complacency can sometimes lead us NOT to push ourselves to a higher level of
The truth is, when everything’s comfortable, we actually
believe we’re in control of things. But when things get uncomfortable, God gently
reminds us of who’s REALLY in control; he is. Comfort is good, but remember, it’s
not the goal. The goal is constant and never-ending improvement. Such a simple shift in
our thinking can make a huge difference in our performance both in and outside of the
classroom. So step outside your “comfortable teaching box” and thank God for
the “tough ones.”
Joe Martin is an award-winning national speaker, author,
professor, and educational consultant. His mission is to help students,
teachers, and administrators learn, lead, and live with purpose and passion. To
find out more visit his web site at https://www.NewTeacherUniversity.com.
Previous teacher article:
Next teacher article:
|| Teaching Tips
|| Stress-less Strategies
We will never use your email for any other reason than to contact you about developments pertaining to the site. We don't sell or distribute email addresses to anyone for any reason.