It’s a quiet Sunday morning and I’ve spent the weekend so far both working on a new project and during that process, thinking hard and deep about “doing it well”.
I put “doing it well” in quotes because this is primary, our presence day in and day out, our attitude, our self, the “how” is always more important than the “what”. I call it “self – grace” and we teachers need to nurture it more in our acts and being, in our teaching. It’s not what we cover or even what we/students discover – it’s how we do it and how we “be” that matters.
I’ve always pushed myself to be in a place where I can “play”. By play, I don’t mean have fun or even that overused and trite word “engaged”. No. I mean it more in the sense of being in a state of flow, in a place where the outcome is not known and the side roads and detours are much traveled. My wife thinks I’m crazy, spending hours locked away in my office – but I’m happy there in my thoughts, in a garden of ideas and possibilities and making these a reality. And at bottom, all school, all education, all life itself is about this – happiness.
Too often, we teachers help students too much, we control too much of what may or may not go on in the classroom, we provide the answers too soon, we intervene, and so on ….. Happiness is not a lesson objective. Let’s learn to let go and let students have a go, really have a go. If we do so, they’ll be happier.
I define play in school as “pointed curiosity”. A teachers job is to set the big scene, provide the field and then to let students out there to explore, to probe, to find their own path to the other side – not any one path but a path found with a sense of grace and being. Nurture that in a student and as a teacher, you’re a winner.
Myself, I want to do something that brings beauty into the world. I think we can bring that into our classrooms also. It’s a principle that I’m reminding myself of this beautiful Sunday morning. Keep directing yourself to be in that state of play, of grace, where your spirit and your actions are aligned.
Go out there and do in that spirit. If you do, the year will be one you’ll never forget.
Oh and by the way – never “try”, it’s the trying that gets in the way …..