This is something of a momentous time for me. There are a number of important and significant changes happening in my life in a very short space of time, which should seem scary. Somehow, though, it’s not.
(I’m going to share some fairly personal stuff in this post, I think. Feel free to get off the train here if that makes you uncomfortable.)
By the start of next month I will have turned 40, moved job, house and city, and have taken necessary medical steps to stop my wife and I from having further children.
Wow, that’s the first time I’ve really looked at it all condensed into a single sentence before. Still not scary. Not scary because of the things that aren’t changing – I’ll still have the love and support of my wife and kids.
When I first moved to London from Aberdeen, the distance and difficulty of selling up meant that I moved alone and my family only joined me eight months later. That was scary. Not having them with me to lean on, to cheer me up, missing out on my daughters’ growing. Hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I have that experience now, I’ve learned from it. If I had to, I could do it again, but I don’t want to, why would I?
The whole point of the move is to spend MORE time with all my girls, not less. To reduce the commute, the stress, to redress the work/life balance.
I underwent the surgery on Monday, and it was the simplest, most pleasant hospital experience I’ve ever had. I want to heartily recommend the friendly and efficient staff at West Middlesex hospital who made the whole thing surprisingly enjoyable!
I took a day to recover, as I’d gone under general anaesthetic, figuring to go back to work today (Wednesday). Then I scared the shit out of my girls by fainting in the living room during dinner! Don’t worry, I feel fine now, but it does show that it doesn’t do to push yourself and have particular expectations of a new experience. The GA obviously had more of an effect on my body than I had prepared myself for, but again having my girls supporting and looking after me made this all non-scary. (For me. They were terrified! Bless them!)
So I’m reaching another milestone, the big 4-0. I’ve never been one to make a big deal over birthdays. It’s just another day, really. I get to spend it with family (both immediate and extended) which is lovely. But does it really change much? I read a post this morning from a teaching acquaintance of mine named Kate where she ruminated on how people change (read the full post here : https://kateelizabeth93.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/pre-birthday-thoughts/ ).
I would extend her thoughts in one simple way – change is usually good. I’ve changed a lot since I was Kate’s age, and mostly for the better. My situation has changed several times in really BIG ways (marriage, parenthood, home ownership, career, to name a few!). It’s all defined who I am and made this month not scary.
This is a blog about education and technology, so why am I telling you all this? (Other than for the cathartic release it offers me?)
In education (particularly Higher Education) people find things scary all the time, because things change. Students leave home for the first time and are thrust into an environment foreign to them. We expect them to learn, and to learn how to learn. Academics join us from industry, often unaware of what is fully expected of them. Others join us from other institutions and have to understand our processes and technologies. We add to and update the learning technologies used to support and enhance learning, and our staff and students need to come with us for the ride. Some, like me, will be in a position of having substantial experience of change. Others will be like Kate, with less experience but substantial ability to handle change. A great many won’t have either, and will struggle.
We have to remember that change is scary, whether we feel it or not, and we have to keep on message, that change is good, whether they see it or not. Help them to see it, support them through it, encourage them to embrace it. As Learning Technologists that’s our job at its heart, and what a difference we can make.