I had a Facebook message today from my daughterâ€™s second grade teacher.Â She was â€śourâ€ť favorite teacher, not just my daughterâ€™s but also mine.Â Every day, she met the students at the classroom door.Â High fives and smiles met those somewhat sleepy faces causing the energy levels to rise.Â In short order, the children were reading, acting out characters (my daughter was Tigger and she mastered the growl, Iâ€™m playing it in my mind now) and going about the process of learning.Â Each day was fresh and the routines provided stability.Â Ahhh, the wonder yearsâ€¦Â I miss this teacher.Â Her impact, made over a decade ago, is timeless.
I often make small talk to children and young adults about their education.
â€śWho is your teacher?â€ť I nod appropriately, as if I know the person.
â€śWhat do you like about your class?â€ť
â€śWhat is your favorite subject?â€ť Hmmmâ€¦
â€śYes, I liked that one tooâ€¦â€ť
Do we really listen to what the children tell us?Â High school students are fun.Â They work really hard at acting bored.Â Truth be told, they are boredâ€¦ until a subject unlocks a passion or the teacher shares potentially the most uninteresting subject in such an interesting way that they canâ€™t help but follow along.
I think about my most powerful learning experiences.Â What are yours?Â What if our lives were filled with these kinds of learning opportunities?Â Would we be talking about the achievement gap?Â Would we worry about how SAT scores have dropped 2 points, here and there?Â What would be possible?
Sometimes we need to step back to have the right perspective.Â Stand a few inches away from an Impressionist painting and youâ€™ll see a bunch of dots.Â Step back a few feet back, however, and the landscape unfolds; a rich tapestry of colors creates a scene that you might have missed.Â How does this apply to education?Â Have we sat in the seats of our students?Â Do we think that toggling between two pictures of art on a smart board is an effective way of â€śleveraging technology to engage studentsâ€ť?
One of our bloggers commented on the lack of sleep that many teenagers are getting.Â This has to effect their learning, especially over time.Â For certain, they are â€śwastingâ€ť some time on Facebook and other activities.Â I wonder, though, if we had to follow their footsteps, even for a day, what would we say about the value of these activities, both assigned and discretionary?Â Would we do anything any differently?Â Would you be â€śat riskâ€ť?
What if we took the best parts of what is happening today and did more of it?Â What are we willing to set aside to make room?Â What is not essential to the outcomes but instead represent valid ways of doing things that are now yesterdayâ€™s issues?Â What would the solutions look like?
Please join the conversation and let us know what you think!