Nothing is Scary

Its the beginning of the fright season and if your at all like me you are excited that the places where “everything is scary” are about to open their doors.

What I want to explore today is the fact that “Nothing is Scary”  to even the most seasoned haunted house regulars.  They may not fear ghosts, ghouls, or those things that seem to wander between this world and the next.  They may not fear abandoned houses, old prisons, or ancient asylums.  They may even feel safe in those dark and lonesome places where your imagination starts to play tricks on your eyes and your ears.  Today I am arguing that even those of you who can laugh off your standard scares are still terrified of nothing.  Its the absence of something, the eternal void, the antithesis of everything, that might be one of the scariest concepts out there.  Seriously considering what nothing means brings me to the conclusion that “Nothing is VERY Scary”.

I was introduced to this concept by Steve Matuszak at a seminar on “Whose Classroom is it Anyway” a talk focused on using improvisation in the classroom.  The fact that “Nothing is Scary” takes on a whole new level of meaning when you apply the concept of Nothingness to the classroom.  In a learning environment nothing can take on a lot of forms but his focus is on the value of using genuine improvisation in moments of nothingness to discover and expose teachable moments.

He doesn’t suggest that we walk into a classroom with nothing prepared, nothing to teach, or nothing to share.  What he says is to recognize that when you start with “Nothing” you have the potential to create “_________________”.  I would love to hear how your brains just filled in the blank.

As teachers there is some value in exploring nothingness before solidifying and selecting a tried and true lesson plan.  Things can come out of nothingness that shock you, excite you, and engage you.  Chances are that diverging from the tried and true lesson plan might help you do the same for your students.