I Can’t Play Baseball

I can’t play baseball

I like to watch baseball but I can’t play baseball.

There are many things that could go wrong.

  • The fear of failure
  • The fear of not being able to connect the bat to the ball
  • The fear of getting hit
  • The fear of not making it to the base on time (or tripping on the way)
  • The fear of being tagged out
  • The fear of not knowing whether to run or to wait
  • The fear of not catching the ball as it comes sailing through the air
  • The fear of not being good enough
  • The fear of letting the team down
    I could add more…….

There are so many things that I know I am not good at — that lead me to not play baseball.

And for those of you who are NOT afraid of baseball or are at least comfortable enough to not let it scare you — my fears, to you, might be irrational, silly, and you might even judge me.

I know what I probably need is a good coach….
but NOT a good coach who is going to try to convince me that those fears are unfounded
— instead I need a coach who helps me to deal with those fears and little by little, perhaps not conquer them…..but to encourage me to not let them keep me from playing the game at all.

And that’s a lot like tech.

You see, I am good at Tech
I enjoy tech and I’m not afraid of tech
….but to explain that to someone who is terrified of tech, I’m not going to win them over by telling them how simple it is.
I’m not going to win them over by proving to them their thoughts are wrong and/or irrational.
I’m not going to win them over by pushing my comfortableness against their uncomfortableness.

What will help is when I am willing to help them work with these fears in a way that works for them.
Not shaming them or comparing them or even pushing them….but realizing that their fear might be totally justified and might also be the wall that they see is WAY too hard to get around or over and even through.

My job is NOT to tell them to go “hit the ball out of the park” –
Sometimes, my job is to encourage them to be willing to even pick up the bat or the ball or even be willing to sit on the bench.

And then, we go from there.

 

11 comments

  1. Lisa Schack says:

    Jennifer,
    I am new to technology and the blogging world, but upon reading your post immediately felt at ease and found myself nodding with your comparison about technology and something new. I am a fourth grade teacher who started our districts technology pilot program this year with one to one devices (chromebooks). I would not consider myself to be ‘tech savvy’ by any means, however, have been able to survive throughout the years. When this program was proposed to us at the end of last year I was a nervous wreck! I was panicking about the management aspect of 32 ten year old students with devices on their desk all day who are on task, along with the amount of professional development that I felt I needed. Fast forward six months, and now I do not know how I taught without my devices! What I like best about your post is your attitude towards validating ones nerves about starting something new, but also starting small by simply picking up the bat and getting off the bench! Those words would have been so helpful to me upon starting out, however, still find them useful as I navigate through my first year of the program. I have tried to implement one new program, resource, or skill each month to make it more manageable. I thankfully have an amazing grade level team who has been patient, kind, and encouraging through the process, but valued your take on this topic. Thanks!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi
      Thank you for your kindness and I am pleased that you felt at ease.
      4th grade is such a wonderful grade — LUCKY YOU!!
      I would encourage you — don’t be scared by this — to start thinking about blogging about what happens in your classroom with tech & 4th graders.
      Though blogging can be a bit terrifying, if you share out that good that is happening in your class, and others read it, it is an encouragement for them to try something new as well.
      And, if you are super brave, have your students start blogging. Perhaps have a “SCRIBE” as a job, and each day they share a bit about what happened that day in school.
      You can lock down the blog, if you wish, so that only you, your students, and parents can read it — if you are a bit wary.
      (That is how my campus does this right now — we use the KIDBLOG platform — and only our kids, admin, parents can read and comment)
      Jen

  2. Christine St says:

    Jennifer,
    At felt more at ease when reading your blog. I like how the focus is not in overcoming your fears (baseball/tech analogy), but to acknowledge, work with your fears, and maybe be comfortable enough to take a small step. I’m 45 years old & in my 15th+ year of teaching. Technology as definitely turned the teaching world upside down. Last year, Digital Learning Coaches were placed in our district & at our site. I was a fellow, so I had someone showing me cool apps, and teaching them to my students. I became more comfortable, but definitely feel my kids know so much more than me. When I attend technology professional developments, I try to take at least one new thing away, implement it immediately, and use it again without too much time passing. That’s me picking up the bat and attempting to bunt.
    Christine

    • Jennifer says:

      Hello!
      Yes, technology HAS definitely turned the teaching world upside down. I have been teaching since 1982 and don’t ever remember there being such a HUGE bump on the road of learning.
      It is great that you had someone come along side and assist. Most people are not that luck. And congratulations on picking up the bat — I love that you were content in bunting and not feeling the need to hit a home run.
      Too many teachers try to hit home runs and then fail. Where, as you shared, bunting might just be the perfect choice.
      Jennifer

  3. Nancy Vanskike says:

    Hi Lisa.
    I am writing this comment, as it is an assignment for a technology class I am currently taking. I am actually enrolled in an on-line Masters program. Crazy….since I am NOT TECH! I am a Transitional Kindergarten teacher and very good at what I do. However, I have been able to hide and not blossom in the technology world. FEAR….for sure…has kept me paralyzed! This Master’s program is on an accelerated track. Therefore, in 4 weeks I have been given the opportunity to grow with creating a voice thread, web page, lesson plan implementing multi-media, at lastly, with you a post and exploring blog pages using Feedly. That is a lot for a lady that has had a technology phobia! Thank you for addressing this in your writing. You were speaking about me!
    Big Smiles!
    Nancy

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi
      Welcome to my blog.
      I was a preschool teacher for 14 years —
      and I think you will find that you might wander into TECH a bit more easily than many — because, we, who teach the little ones, really understand about centers, and chaos in learning, and adaptability to each and every moment.
      I would encourage you to NOT take a HUGE BITE out of the TECH COOKIE — but think about it more as center opportunities. Work with a few — perhaps 6 at a time — in an app or program. See what works and then adjust for the next group. Personally, I am a strong advocate that in Grades K – 2, tech should not be a full class activity but smaller groups as much as possible.
      ALSO, please check out Kathy Cassidy’s website — http://kathycassidy.com/ — she works with 1st grade in Canada and is documenting it a lot to help others not be as timid.
      Jen

  4. Whitney says:

    Wow! Jennifer thank you so much for that lesson in empathy. I feel like you articulated every great point that teachers struggle with every day. Our students come from so many different backgrounds and learning experiences. How can we assume that their fears are irrational or unimportant. It is obvious that you really get it and can create meaningful relationships with your students. It is so easy to dismiss someone fears but, if you really listen and make small goals with them, then you can make all of the difference. Growth can be as simple as asking a question in class…and it’s important to celebrate that milestone. I really feel like I sometimes forget to be empathetic and to move a slow as the individual student. Thank you so much for this beautiful metaphor and reminder.
    -Whitney

    • Jennifer says:

      Hello Whitney —
      Thank you so much for your kind words.
      I have to admit, I was not always so open to differences in learning as I am now.
      But, at least for me, the opportunities in tech — the diversity of options — has made me much more aware of the differences in student’s learning as well.
      And in teacher’s learning too!
      And so, I tend to be a bit more open to learning styles and learning hesitations.
      Jen

  5. Jessica Trussell says:

    Jen,
    I love your analogy of the fear of playing baseball to the fear of technology. For many educators, technology is a source of much anxiety and we don’t know how to apply the use of technology in our classrooms. I am far from tech savvy, but compared to most of my colleagues, I’m capable with computers. I think for the most part, school districts need to train us teachers more about what is latest out there in technology and how we can apply it with our students. This lack of district training is what keeps teachers from bringing our classrooms into the 21st century. Luckily for me, a lot of what I know right now about what’s out there for teachers to access with technology is from my master’s class in educational technology. What I am getting from my master’s program is what teachers should be getting from their districts.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read — and then comment on my blog post. I agree that it would be helpful for Professional Development to assist teachers MORE in how to use the technology with students rather than just highlight technology. I encourage my teachers to replace at least 1 worksheet a month with a “technology” opportunity. It is a struggle at times to move from something so familiar to tech, but in the long run, when they see student’s engagement and also learning…..lightbulbs begin to go off.
      Enjoy your college class….and feel free to stop by again anytime. Jennifer

  6. Trine Falbe says:

    Hi Jennifer, my name is Trine and I work for Creatubbles.
    Thank you for writing this lovely post! I really like how you advocate not pushing children (or any human, for that matter) to doing something they are not comfortable doing. It reminded me of a post I wrote a little while ago about meeting your students where they are, not where you want them to be (you can find it here if you want to read it https://stateoftheart.creatubbles.com/2017/06/23/meet-your-students-where-they-are/). My article describes how some children can simply take an idea and run with it, while others need more instruction and encouragement to get started. Your post in addition focuses on the aspect of empathy in the approach towards encouraging all children where they are, instead of thinking that everyone is the same. That’s a wonderful mindset.

    Progress cannot be forced. It comes from within, and through gentle encouragement and respect. Your students are lucky to have a teacher like you!

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