Despite spending most of my weekdays with 30 bodies under the age of eight, I am surprised each day. In preparing to teach, there is so much to learn. We are working on a non-fiction piece this week called “Ant”. The author loves photography, travel and animals and has married her passions into book creating. I learned about army ants taking over full city blocks, others that carry leaves over their heads like parasols to create nests and later, food. Others work together as teams, creating bridges to get from one branch to another (hello, symbolism!!). We are also learning about a different Winter Olympic sport each day. I now know about the intricacies between luge, skeleton and bobsled (do you know why it’s called “BOBsled”?!). By now I have mastered when to add -s vs. -es to make certain nouns plural, but had neglected to really see WHY. High kicks for P-H-O-N-I-C-S!!!!
I feel my brain churning again in a familiar but neglected way. It’s a slow turning, but those cells are kicking back into gear. The learning edges are vast. Remembering and forming solid classroom management and behavior plans….setting and reinforcing boundaries at home, loosened over endless snow days?!? It is HARD WORK, people. HARD. WORK. And today, as I was leaving at 6:50am eldest encouraged, “Good luck, Mom. Rainy day recess?!? Full Moon?!? Hope you have a good day!” (Ha!)
Many days, like today, are tough. Lightbulb, magic moments of stretching brain cells, learning in tandem. Other valleys where failure and mistakes feel like my address and home. Learning involves risk. Learning requires stepping out over the abyss and praying you land on solid ground. Sometimes growth and learning isn’t “fun”. There is always that moment with each class (or with my own kids) where the reminder must be given, “I am not your on-demand Netflix feed of programs. Everyone is responsible for their own learning.” Or the many moments where in hindsight, my shortfalls and mistakes haunt me.
Despite it all, I am trying to choose to take a posture for learning, even modeling for the kids how to physically do the same. Sit up straight. Dress the part. Engage. Some days, faking it til we make it. The learning usually follows. The spark of joy eventually comes. Maybe even a new discovery or “flow” begins.
As adults, I think we owe it to our kids, our students, our colleagues, to ourselves, to show up. To seek to jump into the unknown, the places where we don’t “know it all”. To be uncomfortable and not have all the answers. A posture for learning might look differently than we imagine….pulled together on the outside but trembling a bit with fear, excitement and possibility on the inside. But so much remains to be found and discovered.
What’s on your learning horizon? Do you feel your brain cells moving these days? What gets you jazzed and excited?
(My old California history curriculum binders….le, sigh. Onto new learning frontiers!)