I had the privilege to have dinner with a friend and fellow educator the other night. Unfortunately for my wife, the conversation quickly turned to “shop talk”, as it often does when teacher’s get together.
I enjoyed our conversation, as we looked back on the first four months of the year at our respective schools. We focused on our successes, struggles, teaching loads, and future plans. INterestingly enough, our friend was also my supervising teacher in my second professional semester in university. She coached, and now co-coaches basketball with my wife at the University of Lethbridge. The reason I felt our conversation so valuable, was that she also has 20+ years teaching experience, and is currently completing her M.Ed. Two things that I intend to accomplish in my teaching career.
As we discussed our teaching practice, and the various methods we use to engage students, a word came up that often makes me shudder. Both my friend and I have the same viewpoint of this word. As a matter of fact, I refuse to use this word when describing my teaching, I will go as far as calling it education’s “C” word.
Definition of com·fort·able according to Merriam-Webster
a : affording or enjoying contentment and security
b : free from stress or tension
That’s it, comfortable. Although being free from stress and tension sounds great, I have witnessed various types of “comfortable” in my 5 years.
Comfortable is something that I never want to be in my profession. At the moment that I begin to feel comfortable in my teaching practice, I feel the need to mix it up. This is very similar to other aspects of my life.
Perhaps I am over thinking this simple word. However, the type “comfortable” that I have witnessed can easily be mistaken for another “C” word, complacency.
My fear is that some teachers who feel comfortable, have allowed themselves to become complacent. If I am complacent in my classroom, am I providing my students with engaging and dynamic material, or am I just sticking with what “I” know best?