A Random Love of School

After months of building community through activities and analysis of our individual learning styles, one thing is clear: I am a random thinker. I see the big picture, need to express creativity through original thought, resent limitations, do not appreciate hard deadlines, and rely on my wife to make many household decisions–but appreciate some structure in my day. I prefer real, open-ended problem solving to quench my curiosity, I always have multiple projects started, and I take risks in leading change (or starting Twitter chats like #slowchatGSD). My concrete randomness is painfully evident when I compete with myself, miss certain steps (helps to read all directions), or have to deal with perceived ignorance. I understand my learning style so I may be cognizant of the diverse learners in the classroom and improve my instruction of sequential learners. I often struggle to relate (or appeal) to the concrete sequentials, although they are possibly the easiest to teach.

And if I were concrete sequential, I would craft a simple numbered list of what I love most about school. But that’s not how my brain works…

I love school so much, I am serving a lifetime sentence in the classroom. I love the hallway conversations, essential questions, the kid who just can’t sit still, the predictable, the unpredictable, the organized chaos of a class absorbed in the learning process, making real-life connections, witnessing intellectual growth, planning for diverse thinkers, hearing everyone’s story, creating lessons, meeting students where they are at, and of course, the teachable moment. Oh man, who doesn’t love the teachable moment?

I love the environment, coffee-stained papers, the community of colleagues, new classes every year, belonging to something greater than myself, giving those labeled failures a chance to succeed, potentially being the only adult to say something nice to a kid in a day, the coolness of a student who doesn’t even realize he/she is cool, those who dare to let their individuality shine, the shy kid, the confident kid, the kid who asks when we will ever need to know this, and discovering what’s at the heart of a perceived badass.

I love the daily sense of accomplishment, making someone’s miserable day a little brighter, hearing every student’s voice, watching writers improve, having a student as a freshman and again as a senior, guiding students to follow their bliss, and especially, the times when my most difficult student from last year knocks on my door just to say, “Hey! What’s up?”

But if I had to choose the one thing I love most about school, it is building lasting relationships with students who will one day surprise me with a random email seeking advice or simply to provide an update about their life. And the former student who stops in before a college break. And the ones now responsible for teaching or coaching my children. And the times when our paths cross in public and he/she still remembers that time in class when…

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4 comments

  1. hamy10

    Great post…the last paragraph really hits home, and I got a good chuckle out of this sentence: “I love school so much, I am serving a lifetime sentence in the classroom.”

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