I can’t remember how we got on this topic, but the other night my wife and I were watching something on Netflix and the topic of Seinfeld came up, specifically the episode where George decides to do the opposite of everything he’s done up to this point in his life. Here’s a clip:
I couldn’t help but watch this clip through an education lens. Those who know me might suggest that this is something I do too often, and they may have a point, but this drive is something that cannot easily be tamed. In this clip, George decides to do the opposite of what he would normally do because the choices he has made up to this point in his life are not leading to fulfillment. Therefore, he decides to set forth on a new trajectory; one that is going to force him to make choices that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar, even scary. Jerry concurs, telling George that if his instincts are wrong, and not to be trusted, then this is a rational decision, but this isn’t the point I want to make here.
I’m not going to suggest that educators stop trusting their instincts and do the opposite of what their experience and good judgement suggest they do. When I watch this clip, I think about not listening to doubt, or that voice in your head that may be telling you to avoid uncharted waters because they are not safe; they make evoke fear. What if educators decided to do the opposite of what is comfortable and familiar? What if they did this for a day, a week, or perhaps even a month? How would these changes in behaviour and decision-making alter their trajectories?
Before long, it’s likely that doing the opposite wouldn’t be the exception, but the norm. It may even be confidence boosting, turning a fixed mindset into one of growth, diminishing the need to consciously make the choice to choose an alternative path.
Stepping out of comfort zones can be very hard. Doing what has always been done is easy, but is it serving the needs of students? I’m left wondering what would happen if we all followed George’s example? Yes, I just said we should follow the advice of George Costanza. When faced with a decision to do what is familiar vs something different, or when a new opportunity arises that may take us on a different path, perhaps we should be asking…
What would opposite George do?