Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.
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Over the weekend I finished reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. If you haven't seen her amazing Ted Talk, I definitely recommend it. The book is an extension of the Ted Talk really. She goes into more depth with her story and how she came to be where and who she is today.
What Amanda points out is that she doesn't work at making people pay for her art. She works at trusting people and loving them and connecting with them. And in that way, inviting them to want to support her art.
It got me thinking about how this applies to education. How often do teachers make students listen and sit still and be quiet and follow all the rules instead of trusting them to be able to handle challenging learning experiences and inviting them to want to learn along with them and teaching them how.
I've been in enough classrooms now that I can see the difference between a teacher who controls what the students do versus a teacher who facilitates learning by trusting students to take charge of their own learning and guiding them along the way.
If we're going to make an impact on education, we need to think about how we reflect and grow as teachers, the level and complexity of the content we give to students, and the role of the students. I believe in trusting students to live up to the learning tasks we give them.
But first, we have to recognize that everyone thrives on being connected and feeling part of something...isn't that maybe the most important part of our jobs as educators? To see kids - not just look at them - but to truly see them and create a safe space where they are included? I think that's the heart of it all. Maybe we have to stop making kids do things and instead invite them to learn things and to figure things out on their own. If we trust them enough to give them challenging experiences and support them to live up to the task, maybe they could surprise us.
I know they would surprise us.