I have to admit, it took some bravery on my part to join Open Classroom Week for the first-time last year. I was eager to join other classes so that I could learn new ideas, especially since we were all teaching in new ways. However, the thought of having other faculty join my class (many of whom I didn’t know), left me feeling a little uncomfortable. Would I be judged? Would my teaching be questioned? There are so many faculty members from this university whom I admire and respect. What would it be like when they showed up in my classroom?
As I am continuing to learn and grow as instructor, I reconciled that part of my role is also to feel uncomfortable. I was reminded of Brene Brown’s (2015) wise words: “We can’t be brave in the big world without at least one small safe space to work through our fears and falls.”(p.216). If my colleagues were creating this space for me, then I could do the same for them!
The result was better than I imagined. As an Open Classroom participant, I learned many classroom activities, as well as ways to increase engagement and maintain community. I also witnessed the instructors’ ways of being with the students – something I would have never picked up in a regular teaching and learning workshop.
As an instructor who opened my classroom, not only did I feel supported and engaged; I was able to create space to reflect upon my own teaching practices while connecting with fellow faculty members. The bravery paid off, and I am looking forward to being both a participant and instructor once again in this year’s Open Classroom Week. I hope that you will be join me so that we can be brave, and perhaps a little uncomfortable while we learn and grow together.
Lydia Watson, M.Ed. (she/her)
Instructor, School of Communication and School of Business
Reference: Brown, B. (2015). Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. Random House