Planting, Watching, and Building, V

What a strange day I had on Thursday!  On the surface, it was a very productive day; I finalized a classroom arrangement I’d been pondering for a while (pictures coming, but not yet), moved furniture, put up posters, and dealt with all those first-day-back issues that teachers know so well.  I even had a moment or two to talk with face-to-face friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that

  • I have a number of face-to-face colleagues who are starting to realize you can’t teach 21st-century learners in a 20th-century paradigm;
  • Quite a few colleagues agree that it’s not enough to be a “good school” that meets most of the learning needs of most students anymore;
  • A good number of my face-to-face coworkers recognize that the test-and-worksheet, one-right-answer paradigm isn’t effective anymore, and it needs to give way to something new.

So there were lots of hopeful signs, like new growth of plants or new construction … and there was even some literal new construction and renovation I hadn’t been expecting.  Many connections, in other words, with this week’s themes of planting, watching, and building.

And yet as I drafted this post, late on Thursday evening, I was tired and frustrated.  And I’m still frustrated as I edit and publish it this morning.  I’m not really sure why!  On balance, the day was more pleasant than frustrating.  Of course, like any day, it had its share of good news and of bad news, of happy moments and frustrations. But most of the individual moments were either pleasant or neutral.

Maybe that’s part of the problem.  Had it been a horrible day, it would be easy to say “Time to walk out and walk on!”  Had it been a flat day, it would be easy to say “Seth Godin was right! it’s a cul-de-sac, and it won’t be getting any better.”

But what’s the lesson from a good day?  Or do I need to watch and see several days?  How many days make a trend?  And what’s the next right step in any case?

quid respondētis, amīcī?

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Published in: on August 17, 2012 at 11:11 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. interesting reflections, Justin. something about what you’ve written here takes me back to some of my thoughts from my younger days about “good” and “bad” and what those words mean. In the past few years, instead of immediately sticking one of these labels on things I ask “What am I learning from this experience?” One of the things I’ve noticed myself doing is that I feel value the times that I am more productive, but this judgement is based on an old value system and one I am working to walk out of. What are the new values that we are wanting to walk on to now?

    • Thanks, Aerin! And thanks for commenting, too. I realized after writing this (and discussing it with some friends on this Google+ thread) that I wasn’t clear at all in the ways I used the words “good” and “bad” in this post. Like you, I tend to avoid those terms for experiences, and I also tend to ask “What am I learning?” Or, if an experience is repeated, “What do I still need to learn? What am I trying to avoid learning here?”

      So, given that I had a pleasant day on Thursday, what does that mean? Am I being called back to the “hospice-worker” role that I’ve filled capably for the past several years? Or am I walking on from there to a new community that will build something new and wonderful?

      It’s all so unclear right now! But I guess an excessive desire for clarity is another thing I need to walk out of. 🙂

  2. […] I mentioned on Thursday and Friday, this is a strange time for me. On the outside, everything seems “normal” for the most […]


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