Face reality and dare to disrupt

Lisa Ashes

Lisa Jane Ashes is a self-employed teacher and author of Manglish: Bringing Maths and English Together Across the Curriculum. She is now a trustee of the charity Reach Out 2 Schools (www.reachout2schools.com), founded by Isabella Wallace, who are continuing to fund education-centric work in countries such as Nepal, India and South Africa. The organisation is also working on education projects within the UK, with Lisa using her knowledge of creativity within the curriculum to build better education for the most in need.

Follow @lisajaneashes

Website: thelearninggeek.com/ Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Pexels. Image credit: Pexels.

Sitting in the department meeting, lists of issues are being fired at you from the usual agenda. Your colleagues’ eyes are rolling, arms crossed and lips pursed in distaste at the never-ending problems. You are sweating! Your cheeks burn and your hands tingle as you choke back the solution you think just-might-work. You can barely hear the rest of the points as you run over and over in your mind, how you might disrupt this meeting with the solution that is buzzing to be heard. If you could just bring yourself to lay the creative idea on the table… or is it a stupid idea? No matter, the meeting is over. It’s just another idea that you didn’t dare share.

Unshared ideas are a waste of your energy. The creative thoughts wither away into seething frustration. Before you know it, you have joined the cynical seats in the staffroom as creative energy is transformed into complaint. “The new marking policy is rubbish!” You mime along with the other complainers. There’s a solution, but you didn’t dare to disrupt, and so you settle into the delusion that there is nothing you can do. The idea is gone. Complaints give us a momentary sense of relief as we round up our problems in collective hatred for the system. We own our problems through frustration and complaint, but avoid ownership over being the reason they are perpetuated rather than solved.

What is it that keeps you paralysed, stopping the idea ever seeing the light of your colleagues? Is it fear? Fear, that blocker of creativity, sneaks into situations and tells you that you are not the right person to be putting new ideas forward. Fear is responsible for holding so many ideas back and turning creatives into complainers through frustration. In the words of Seamus Heaney: “Strange. It is a huge nothing that we fear.” We cannot predict the future. Yet, we fear the imagined discomfort that laying our ideas out could potentially cause. Imagination cannot harm you; the frustration of an idea not shared can! Recognise that your fear is imagination trying to save you from a situation that may never happen. Allow yourself to disrupt the problems with your ideas and face reality, not fear of what may be.

You are not a disruptor? Disruptors are the avatars on social media that shout us down with a plethora of superior knowledge that we could never hope to have. They are the untouchable ancient staff members who wear denim without a tie and refuse new policies on the basis that they have “done this all before”. You are not loud. You feel the lack of weight that your inferior knowledge brings and yet… you’re sure this idea could work! Will standing up cause you to be shouted down by the ‘real’ disruptors out there? The only way to avoid criticism is to do absolutely nothing. What will that achieve?

The stereotypical disruptor may not be you, but I have good news! There is no disruptor-shaped box. For every aggressive disruptor shouting about what we “must do,” there is a disruptor with subtle passion that dares to say, “I wonder if…” For every disruptor that brazenly stands apart, refusing to cooperate, there is a quiet disruptor making small, significant changes from within. For every grating know-it-all, there is a graceful instigator of change, disrupting without noise or discomfort to others. Whether NQT or headteacher, no one idea is worth hearing more than another. All ideas have the potential to disrupt the journey, taking us towards a lesser resistant route - if you dare to share.

Every one of us has the power to change the world. Don’t fear getting it wrong; be hopeful that your idea might just put it right. Don’t fear being laughed at - life is too short to take seriously anyway. Do not fear being a disruptor; our world needs people like you to see solutions and dare speak them out loud. Disrupt with passion over aggression. Disrupt with quiet grace, working within to lead the way forward. Shine a light on your fears and see them for what they really are: untrue, disabling, a feeling that you can overcome. With action, you will see that there is nothing to fear and you will avoid the real discomfort of frustration and complaint. Not next year, when you have finally finished your masters. Not next month, when you hope the marking pile may be smaller. Dare to bring your solution to the table whenever the time is right. If you are facing a problem and you hold the tiniest germ of a potential solution – the time is right now!

The next department meeting is scheduled. You know the problems that colleagues face. You have been working quietly, gathering data and testing your solution. You are prepared to share. They might laugh at you. They might shout you down. You know that what might happen is not as important as what is happening in this moment. In this moment, you have dared bare your brain – your creative idea is loose! You have disrupted the problem with your potential solution and you have no idea what will happen next… isn’t that a relief?

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"