Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

do-overs ~

Sometimes I want a do-over. You know – start from scratch: no mistakes, no mess-ups, no baggage. Like the class I taught once, that went awry from the first day. They didn’t gel. They didn’t really talk. They just kind of sat there. I’ve been known to refer to them as my squid class – kind of free-floating, no internal structure…(I probably shouldn’t admit that :))

Anyway, I told them we were starting over. Fresh and new, clean slate.

Let’s just pretend this is the first day of class, I said. I’ll assume each of you is going to make an A. And you’ll forgive me this weirdly uncomfortable two weeks.

Advertisement

It worked. Sort of – they were never contenders for ‘best class of all time.’ But they came around. And we managed to create a community of sorts.

Which contrasts strongly w/ the class I had last semester. It’s not my smartest class (don’t tell them, please). But it may well be the nicest class I’ve ever had. They seem to actively love each other. I’m not kidding — a college class that has movie night outside of class?? Holds a potluck? Sends each other cards? Let me tell you — that is NOT usual! So I tried to learn how it all came about.

There’s a term in teacher research: ‘teacher inquiry.’ It means that teachers decide what question(s) about their classroom – a single student, a process, a challenge – need to be researched. The teacher then looks for research, and/or designs a way to collect and analyse ‘data’ to help inform answers to the original question. Well, the class I had  this past semester sends me back to a question I’ve had for years: I usually know why a class goes ‘agley,’ as Bobby Burns would say. But what makes one work so well??

Advertisement

So here’s my point: too often, we chastise ourselves when things implode (or explode!). How often do we stop to appreciate when things go along swimmingly, and wonder how to help it happen more often…? When’s the last time you congratulated yourself on a job done amazingly well? A project handled w/ grace and elegance? What’s wrong with loving ourselves at least enough so the Golden Rule actually means something…? What if ‘do-over’ wasn’t a bad thing, but a kind of musical reprise…? Like… a song you’d like to hear more than once… What if? Just sayin’ ~

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment R

    I know I don’t give myself the space to just enjoy when things go well in a class. On the other hand, it is frustrating to be able to identify quickly why things go wrong but not why things go supremely well. I know there is a larger thought there but I am not able to follow it through now.

    • brittongildersleeve

      Perhaps it has to do w/ our willingness to accept blame, but our reluctance to accept what we may see as congratulations :). Especially in this culture, I think: we’re told NOT to celebrate our own success… (Unless it’s monetary!) :)

Previous Posts

unexpected treasures
This is a bat house. While this one isn't the one currently in my garage, awaiting its move to Virginia, it looks much like ours will look in a few years: ...

posted 1:15:47pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

making friends with (at?) work
Because of the upcoming move, I've scaled back on many activities I love, including several non-profits. Friday, the head of one I particularly enjoy asked if ...

posted 5:49:17pm Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

temper temper
I'm probably going to get a LOT of pushback on this, but at least in my family, men have worse tempers than the rest of us. And they don't believe ...

posted 12:36:21pm Jul. 24, 2015 | read full post »

In Praise of Teachers Under Attack, reprised
I am so sick of anti-teacher ignorance that I could spit, as my Aunt Bonnie would have said. “It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.” No. No, no, ...

posted 1:52:52pm Jul. 23, 2015 | read full post »

moving toward light: opening up and letting go
Photographers have a term for when there's not light to shoot a picture. It's called 'opening up': you increase the aperture -- the hole through which ...

posted 1:42:11pm Jul. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.