Last week I was fortunate enough to participate in First Aide training and refresh my skills in CPR and basic immediate care. As I waited to take my final practical assessment I pondered how important knowing these skills, as basic as they may seem, could help me professionally. Aside from the obvious fact that I could now be at least somewhat helpful in a real emergency, I realized that CPR doesn’t always have to be taken literally to be helpful.
I think we’ve all done it, we’ve learned about a new teaching strategy, tried it out on an unsuspecting class, and…nothing…it died on the table. More often than not, in cases like this, we move on and forget about the new strategy. Either it failed so miserably that we were scared to try again or perhaps, it was too much effort to try another time. We’ve all been there, I’m sure of it. So, think back, what was the most recent new strategy you tried and abandoned? Let’s breathe some life back into it…
The first thing we learned about helping to save someone is that we should never put ourselves in danger in order to do so. So, if this strategy isn’t the right one, if it’s too big and will only weigh you down, then leave it and find another one. Next, once you’ve settled on a safe strategy for saving, you need to call for help. This isn’t something anyone wants you to do alone. Talk with your department head, a colleague you trust, or an SLT member. Get some advice, share ideas and develop a strong plan for breathing life back into this strategy.
CPR is a process, it takes effort and care. So too will reviving this strategy. As you consider trying this strategy again think about the right time to implement it. Perhaps you’ve got a class that is more flexible and open to new ways of learning, that would be a good place to start. If not, consider the right lesson to implement this strategy. Review sessions are always a good time to try new things and get creative. Whenever you decide to make the jump and try this strategy again, go in knowing that it is part of a process, one that may include multiple steps.
One thing that became apparent during CPR training and holds true to trying out a new strategy in class is that they both take a lot of courage. To jump in and try to save someone’s life takes a special amount of courage that, to be perfectly honest, I wonder if I’ll have should the moment ever arise. Trying a new strategy, while not on the same level, also takes courage. The difference, however, is that you can control the situation with a new strategy and go in confident that you’re prepared. So, find that strategy that died on the table, work to breathe new life into it, and confidently know that you’re becoming a better educator as you do so.