My daughter is obsessed with watching "shows". We hop in the car and before you can buckle your own seat belt she is begging for a "show". We flip the dvd player down and let it roll, because after all, a happy toddler is a happy drive, anywhere. This particular time it wasn't the mickey mouse clubhouse or elmo counting to 10 forty three different ways, it was Finding Nemo. This I can handle because it has some humor that allow me to smile in the driver seat as passing cars wonder what is wrong with me. Right around the time Nemo is being thrown into a plastic bag to become a birthday gift I started thinking to myself, am I a Marty or a Gill in education? in life? in my marriage? as a father?
What is a Marty and a Gill?
Marty is Nemo's father. A clown fish. A not very funny clown fish. If you had to classify Marty he would be a play-it-safer. Risks aren't his thing so go knock down some other coral reef. See what i did there? a sea joke. His son Nemo wants to try all of these things but Marty won't let him. He won't let him because of his own fear. His fear comes from previous experiences that made an impact on him and he chose to react in a way similar to a snail plunging his head back into his shell. Marty is not a jump in the deep end kind of fish, sorry I couldn't help myself.
Let's take a look at Gill. He is the fish in the tank that seems to be the alpha fish of the dentist office. If you had to classify Gill you would say he is a right brain fish, a dreamer, a visionary, and a motivator. He had some junk in his past too but he reacted in a way that is different than Marty. When Gill comes into contact with Nemo he doesn't try to hold Nemo back, in fact, he pushes Nemo to a place he didn't think he could go.
As an educator are you a Marty or a Nemo? Do you hold your students back because of fear that you have buried deep inside or are you a Gill, someone that pushes your students to dream and achieve, even when they are scared to see what's next? At times we probably all play the different role. It's easy to be a Marty, you're less likely to get hurt or trapped. But aren't you already trapped if you aren't living? You will encounter Nemo's throughout your career. Students with so much potential hidden behind fear of failure, because we live mostly in societies that ask the question Why? instead of Why not? Will you hold them from jumping in the deep end on their own or encourage a giant cannonball?
Your call Marty or shall I call you Gill?