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Why So Serious?

Miss a foul shot, shoot five more.

The morning classroom lesson, epic fail! Rewrite the lesson, six times more.

Airball. Turnover. Extra hours in the film room.

Desks scattered. Too much student chatter. Time to change the seating chart, again.

I’ve always been so serious as a student, an athlete, and an educator.

Until serious got too...well...serious.

With about ten eager seniors staring back at me in my Senior Internship class, I passed out the book The Red Rubber Ball by Kevin Carroll. As you page through this adult yet playful short read, Kevin Carroll focuses on his red rubber ball--the thing that takes him back to his playful childhood. The thing that gets him up every morning with purpose and passion. He urges that work can (and should) be play. People should not be able to tell if you are at work, because work should look like play. There is no black and white.

By page 10, it hit me--like the red rubber ball jumped out of the book and smacked me right in the face hit me--I was missing the fun.

Why do we, as educators, act so serious? We fear to blur the lines. We fear to dance in the gray. We fear to show our true colors and share our red rubber ball.

About five years ago, Kevin Carroll challenged me, as his words brought life to my work. He pushed me to find my own red rubber ball and to bring play back into my life. It was then that I started to bring my red rubber ball, competition, into my work life. How?

Gamification. That’s right! Gamification...but, for adults. It does not need to be for students; adults can play too! When there was a lull in the year, there was a game. Not feeling it today? Why not try a little friendly competition?

Anything to blend work and play, because play--that simple four-letter word--has become lost in our world of education today? We, educators, make sure there is fun for our students, but where’s the fun for educators?

Like Kevin Carroll has challenged me through his words, I challenge you to find your red rubber ball. That thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning with purpose and filled with passion. Incorporate that red rubber ball in all that you do and say because that is the gamechanger.

Do not let serious be too...serious. Blend work and play before it is too late.

Miss a shot, get the next one.

Lesson flopped? Get it next time!

Swoosh. Slam dunk.

Desks scattered. Smile at the chaos...the organized chaos.

Rebecca Gibboney

Rebecca Gibboney is a Curriculum and Online Learning Specialist as well as an assistant Women’s Basketball coach in Williamsport, PA. She presents state-wide on the importance of making education fun for all educators through gamification. She is an education advocate and a passionate change agent who strives to instill hope in educators around the world.

Future Author: Tiebreaker: A Scouting Report for Gamifying Professional Learning in Education

Rebecca’s upcoming book is comprised of “Keys to Victory” for educational leaders and educators in order to build a culture of gamified professional learning with enthusiasm. Plus, each reader will receive the game plan for implementation!

Anticipated Launch: March 2020

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