Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Creating My Classroom

Coming to the end of my Master of Education program of study, I have learned a huge lesson: I never want to stop actively learning. And this is not just a hollow dedication to lifelong learning; this is a compulsion teetering on the intensity of an addiction-and one I hope to pass on to each of my future students. Throughout my transformation from student of teaching to teacher of students, I have learned over and over in different ways that effective teaching is always more about the learning than the teaching. To help students of all abilities grow and move forward, I have to learn where they are right now, what interests them, and what motivates them to succeed. Then I can meet them where they are, and we can start the real learning together.

I want my future classroom to be a place where no one is afraid to make mistakes or admit they don’t know something. Both of those moments are portals into curiosity and discovery. I will fully admit to my students when I do not know something, just so that I can model what I do in that situation. What resources do we have to find the information? If we’re using the internet, how can we validate the author and the website providing the information? With so many resources so readily accessible, it’s important that learners know how to navigate through them confidently. I will create a classroom environment that is full of collaboration, movement, imagination, choice, and challenge.

Having earned my previous degree in performance theatre and spending so much of my life on stage, I think I assumed this career choice would keep me in the spotlight. At the start of this program, I had visions of myself captivating students from the front of the room with my stories and imaginative lessons, but now I have a very different idea of the ideal classroom learning experience. I see students engaged in discussion and collaboration with each other, motivating and directing themselves, and interacting with each other respectfully and with purpose. I see myself on the edges of these moments, more of a stage manager than the star. I will be the facilitator who happily keeps things organized and running smoothly. I will draw the hard lines of the coloring book so that they can enjoy filling their learning experience with all the colors of the rainbow!

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. ~Chinese proverb

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Everyday Magic

Everyday magic, common divinity, and ordinary amazements are hiding in plain sight. When I see or feel them surrounding me, staring down from the sky, growing up from the ground, or rushing right through me, I realize I have a choice every moment of every day. I can clear the clouds and cobwebs away, I can calm my clamoring, clanging ego, and I can choose to surrender to my inherent role as servant to humanity and conduit of love. Rather than rushing through the day, perpetually focused on the next moment, I can surrender to now. I can create a bit of space inside and outside, smile, and notice all of the everyday magic of each and every moment. Only then can I be truly useful to those around me.

Not everyone can see this common magic, even though it’s readily available through the portals of science, curiosity, nature, and simple observation-just to name a few. At times, I feel like a diplomat that can go between the two realms: One that’s bubbling and overflowing with dazzling, living amazements and one that’s sterile and boring with sharp edges. I can transport to this land of endless wonders through trapdoors such as walks and bike rides outdoors, mindful breathing, music, and conscious yet effortless transformation.
Everything is changing and transforming constantly. No situation or relationship will stay the same for very long. Even though I find myself wanting everything to happen faster than it naturally is inclined, I lovingly long for contented patience. When I find myself tensely rushing and pushing, seeing others and their actions as obstacles to my progress, I can remember to ease up, to ease off, and to create some space. This relaxing space allows me to smile and notice that everyday magic again, and the moment is suddenly transformed. My agitator is now teaching me a priceless lesson about practicing patience and opening up to a different timeline than my own. These moments encourage me to never stop learning-if I’m smart enough to notice them.

"I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life - all mystery and magic.
~Harry Houdini