The comfort zone, learning, and... maybe it's okay to feel overwhelmed...
Check out Nick Sauers' "Feeling Overwhelmed" blog post.
Have you ever felt like “…..this is good stuff, but my toolbox is already full!”???
Nick makes reference to doctors and their toolboxes. How would we as consumers respond if doctors began telling us their toolboxes were full?? And while we are well aware that with the evolution of technology, more efficient equipment and mechanisms are produced to improve health care...?
Another spin on this is taking a look at learning and the comfort zone... Or the not-so-comfortable zone of learning.
When our students are feeling as though their toolbox is full. I believe our mission is to keep pushing them to update their tools so that they have the best set of problem-solving gadgets to work with. I showed my students empathy when they felt overwhelmed, but I also explained to them that it wasn't until they stepped out of their comfort zone by reading a little more, writing a little longer, and studying a little harder that they would make gains in their ability to learn new concepts and master new skills.
Think about the word, "comfort" ... What are we doing when we are comfortable? A blog post I recently read, "Your Comfort, Learning, and Anxiety Zones," defines these three zones (http://airline-command.blogspot.com/2007/11/your-comfort-learning-anxiety-zones.html).
I think metacognitive awareness is key here. We need to be able to organize our thoughts and resources in a way that allows us to begin taking on new information. When I taught psychology, I compared the brain to a file cabinet... I think our overwhelmed educators (and students at times) are in a state where the drawers are open and papers are everywhere-scattered about as they try to keep up with digital reform. They're trying to sort them out, but a window seems to be open blowing information about faster than teachers/learners can put them away.
Develop a plan, organize the files, and maintain the file cabinet by discarding and replacing as needed. Don't shut the window - fresh air is GOOD. We, as educators, must find a balance between our comfort zone... and our learning zone. Enjoy a couple of quotes I thought were motivating:
A ship in a harbor is safe, but that's not what a ship is built for.
Progress always involves risk; you can't progress to second base and also keep your foot on first.
Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.
Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more or retreating into less.