Sitting in the hospital room with my family, waiting to hear if my father was going to rehab so he could increase his strength, my mom said, “I hope he gets into rehab, he likes rehab. He’s been there before.” We all had a much-needed laugh about how that may have sounded to someone passing by. Someone that didn’t know his earlier rehab stays were for his back, his shoulder, and his knee.
A lightbulb went on for me when the doctor said, “Rehab is a place people go to get stronger. Your dad needs rehab to get stronger, in order get better.” As educators in today’s world, we have endless opportunities and resources to get stronger. We can learn from others and share our stories to get stronger. There are so many innovative educators out there we can connect with and learn with. So, why aren’t more of us in Rehab?
Many times, because of physical ailments, a patient can’t do things the way they’ve always done it before. The occupational therapist needs to teach their them a new way to accomplish the same thing. The OT may also see something in a patient’s movement that works against what they’re trying to accomplish. Teachers do this all the time when they differentiate instruction or allow students to demonstrate their learning in new ways. However, as teachers, when do we take the time for our own rehab? When do we meet with our therapists, and who are they? Is it an EdCoach? Is it your administration? Many of us do some of this on our own, but humans are a social animal and we respond better when we work together. So why not find someone to collaborate with? Thanks to social media and video calls, these other people don’t even need to be in your school.
When we think about rehab, many times we think about the 12 step programs. In a 12 step program, the first step is admitting that you’re powerless, or you need help. Unfortunately, many times we don’t know what we don’t know. We need to help to see what we are doing ‘wrong’, and we need guidance to fix it. We have a powerful tool in our phones, iPads, laptops, etc… known as a camera. Why not video a lesson and work with a colleague or coach to analyze what went well, and what we can address in a different way?
Step 10 focuses on continually taking personal inventory. We all have one more group that can help us with this. It also happens to be the group that many times falls into steps 8 & 9 – making amends to those we have wronged. Why not ask our students what’s working for them, and what isn’t working for them? Too many of us ask for this feedback at the end of the school year. We could be so much more effective if we heard or saw what wasn’t working early in the year. In order to become stronger, we need to continually take personal inventory, build on our strengths, and fix our weaknesses.
When we attend conferences, read educational books, take part in Twitter or Voxer chats, or contribute to a Google+ community we are in Rehab. We are there to get stronger. When we get stronger – we get better. So admit that you have a problem, take the time to record your classroom, collaborate with other teachers, share your stories, and most importantly; Get Help! We need all these things, along with a growth mindset in order to get stronger so we can get better. Then, like my dad, we can enjoy rehab and keep coming back for more.