Learners Deserve the Best, Let’s #InnovateInsidetheBox
Three years ago, life as I knew it as a teacher changed dramatically. I had just finished my first year back in the classroom after having had my twins, bringing my total number of children to a whopping four! They were close in age and definitely kept me busier than I ever imagined possible… but I was also at a turning point in my career knowing that I wouldn’t have any more mat leaves, and could therefore really dive into my passion of innovation in education. My first year back in the classroom, I started taking more risks and took charge of my PD. I finished off the year by heading to the Summer Institute at High Tech High in San Diego, and this trip began a shift that took me places as an educator that I never thought I’d go, at a speed I didn’t know existed.
Three years ago was also the time when I began to hear about the works of a brand new school opening up in my division. I knew that this was where I belonged and needed to up my game in order to make sure I got to live out this big dream of mine.
Three years ago, George Couros came into my life, and I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am. My “George story” all started when I received an email from a colleague sharing that the #IMMOOC (Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course) was about to begin, and asking if anyone wanted to join in. No brainer! Next thing I knew, I was driving across town to pick up the last two copies of the book left in the city (because even Amazon couldn’t get me it fast enough).
— Annick Rauch (@AnnickRauch) September 12, 2016
ha! Only being helpful for one lucky coworker! 🙂
— Annick Rauch (@AnnickRauch) September 13, 2016
😂 seeing as are no copies left in Winnipeg she could prob do even better auctioning it off.😂 Glad I have mine already!
— Sheila Vick (@sheila_vick) September 13, 2016
😂 love the way you think! With the money I make, I'll order books for everyone!!
— Annick Rauch (@AnnickRauch) September 13, 2016
I would go out for a nice dinner but your plan is also good 🙂
— George Couros (@gcouros) September 13, 2016
From that tweet on, George showed me that he was approachable, a real human despite me being totally starstruck, and has encouraged, pushed, and supported me more times than I can count.
The Innovator’s Mindset significantly changed my trajectory as a teacher. Through reading this book, and participating in the various rounds of #IMMOOC, I got more connected with educators around the world who constantly inspire me beyond belief, encourage me to take new risks, and push me to new heights. I’ve been able to find my voice and reflect deeper on what it means to do what is right for kids. I’ve seen my confidence grow in sharing what I am doing and am much more willing to share my process, even when it flops. Reading The Innovator’s Mindset has also helped to validate my feelings about putting relationships first, always, and has taken the guilt away about putting relationships above all because I now understand that it’s an investment that pays back in dividends. George has helped me to realize that meaning is so much more important than balance, and that when we are pursuing our passions, the struggle is so much easier to push through! Finding students’ passions and strengths in order to tap into them is key, and we should always build on those. I could go on and on about everything I’ve learned through this journey, but no matter where you are in your journey, know that small change is better than no change, and George is incredible at taking individuals from their point A to their point B. If you haven’t yet read The Innovator’s Mindset, you really need to!
Having said all of that, when George shared with me that he was writing a new book, I was skeptical. How can one person who has already written an amazing book that has done SO much for me, and for so many others, possibly write another one that would have the same impact, or more?
And then, he did. He truly did.
I got to read a super early copy of Innovate Inside the Box — even before it went to editing — got to read another edited and refined copy just last month, and was so excited to see that George had done it again with the help of the super talented Katie Novak, UDL expert! I personally loved how The Innovator’s Mindset was inspiring which made my mind run wild with things I could dream up and implement in my own context. Some of my colleagues, however, had commented that they would’ve liked more practical and ready to use examples. Innovate Inside the Box does exactly this. It’s a beautiful balance, and while you read this book, you will be inspired and empowered to take risks and move towards meaningful change. You will also find countless innovative ideas for teaching that leave you feeling as if George and Katie are walking along side you, instead of telling you what to do. This book will touch your heart and help you to understand that you can leverage barriers in order to create new and better experiences for yourself, and for those you serve, no matter where you are in your journey.
I can’t wait to see where this new books takes me, and my students, next!