[Read] Outside Your Comfort Zone.

This post may be short, but none-the-less, it will (hopefully) serve as a positive message in your day today, dear reader.

This post deviates from the prescribed topics, from all components of education – a non-negotiable action needed in all educators lives so we remain “in balance.”

When the #aprilblogaday challenge started, I’d never heard of the book All Light We Cannot See, by Anthoney Doerr. And now, a shout out (once again) to Chris Crouch must be paid for his post here. Thank you, Sir. Thank you for reminding me of a non-negotiable.

After Easter Sunday service, I dropped by Barnes & Nobles to finish lesson planning (a “to-do” on my list that I had put off for far too long.) Ironically, the first book on the display case when I entered was nothing other than “All the Light We Cannot See.” Immediately I thought, “Wow! Now that’s irony.” Irony? Yes. Meant to be? You, bet. Unknown

I typically don’t read fiction novels, as Graduate School for the past year-and-a-half has me more than naturally gravitating towards any text associated with improving my instructional and leadership practices (it’s become a bad habit. I know.) If you had asked me over a year ago what was on my bedside stand, I’d have said anything from And the Mountains Echoed, to A Long Way Gone. However, within the past year, I have naturally diverted myself away from any reading that won’t push me to think critically about my practices. And you know what, for some reason or another, I thought this is what I needed to be doing.

How wrong I have been.

I immediately grabbed the novel, and set work aside. What was to be 5 minutes, quickly became an hour of my afternoon. For the first time in months, I read a book that was not in the “Education” section.

And what an influence it has made! On this Easter Sunday, as we naturally focus our attention to family and the acts of grace which surround us, I challenge each of you (yes, you educators!), to put reading EdWeekly aside. Put reading about policy, instructional strategies, concepts on motivation and leadership – put that all aside. Put it aside and pick up a book that you wouldn’t normally read or gravitate towards. Let go of your habits, and you will be influenced no doubt to better your practice unintentionally.

For me, walking straight into this challenge has influenced me to be liberated from narrowing habits. I forgot about the whimsical tales, the escape from reality that novels foster. Between the metaphors, and the illuminating details – that one hour turned into the most captivating hour of reading I’ve had in months. It was the escape I needed so as to better focus on the tasks that were ahead of me.

I have no article to leave you with here colleagues, other than the question, “when was the last time you read something that you typically wouldn’t read?” I challenge you to “read outside your comfort zone;” it may just inspire you, refresh you, and influence you to better your practices (unintentionally.)

Now excuse me; I’ve got a date with a book right now!



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