Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What if?

For about three years now, I have had this magnet in front of me near my desk.

Many times I have stared at that magnet when I have been frustrated with things large and small. I often reflect that if we could all just take a pause, breathe, and recollect our thoughts, things weren't as hard as they seemed. Quite often I have heard the phrase "Teaching is hard" and there is no doubt that the teaching profession is incredibly difficult, complex, and challenging. Yet those words connote so much more than "Teaching is hard". While it's semantic, I believe it's important to represent that what we do as educators is complicated and rarely "easy" or "hard".

At the heart of the quote are two key elements: the question "What if" and the spirit of the quote, which is ultimately about mindset and attitude. Too many of us allow the walnut trees to dictate how we approach the constant array of complications and changes. The joke in every school building is often "wait a few years and it will go away". Sometimes, things go away in one year. But WHAT IF, we took each change, each implementation plan, each curricular change, each initiative and acted like it was easy. What if we looked for the useful,  the redeemable, and added it to our repertoire?

What if instead of fighting change we embraced it by looking for the good? What if we acted like it was easy?

The question "What if?" continues to resonate with me and I have decided that this school year, my reflections will be focused on that very question. At the heart of all learning are deep meaningful questions. What if... can be a powerful one.

As I began to wrap up this first blog post of 2015-2016, I became aware of the incredible story of two young girls from Washington state who designed and sent their own spacecraft into space. Take the 7 minutes to watch their story.

I am confident that their story began with a "What if?" I am confident that some educators would have told the young sisters that what they wanted to do was too "hard" for them.  Luckily for the world, these sisters acted like it was easy (I'm pretty sure it wasn't).

"These two sisters set out to make something fun and exciting, and they certainly accomplished that. What they might not know is that they also created something beautiful that can’t quite be quantified by data. They created magic."

What if we supported our students passions?
What if we stopped creating ceilings for our students?
What if we encouraged our students dreams?

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