Monday, January 16, 2012

Whining trumps change far too often

My patron saint may very well be Our Lady of Perpetual Planning.  I adjust, update, edit, tweak and otherwise "improve" my course materials (syllabus, course calendar, daily plans, teaching notes, resources...pretty much everything) before every semester and right up to the day before classes start.  Classes start tomorrow, so you can pretty well guess what I'm doing.

Incorporating change into our lives is hard, especially if the change involves a learning curve or a risk.  Some of the changes I want to make in my course plan are risky, in the sense that the outcome isn't knowable.  What if the change isn't better?  How will I grade it?  Is the potential outcome worth the effort?  What if the students don't understand the assignment?  Just how hard is this going to be...for me?

As I head back to make those last and final changes (really, they'll be the last ones...absolutely, positively), I'll be going with the encouragement of trusted muses:
  • "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." -- Andre Gide
  • "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  -- Helen Keller
  • "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover." -- Mark Twain
  • "We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."  -- T.S. Eliot
Okay, I'm ready now.

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