It’s the Monday after Spring Break. As I am finishing up carpool duty, my phone dings. It is my calendar notifying me of a meeting. The invitation was from Julia inviting me and our Director of Technology to discuss YouTube and iBooks. When I arrived, I was surprised to find students in Julia’s classroom. When I asked about our meeting, Julia replied that yes, I was supposed to be there; we were team-teaching part 2 of the project in 6th Grade World Languages. Yikes!
Inspiring…don’t you think? I wondered if I could be any less prepared. Julia pointed out, very nicely, how improbable it was for me to be prepared since I don’t speak any of these languages. She reminded me that I didn’t need to be prepared to deliver content, and I’m always prepared to facilitate learning through the art of questioning.
During our debrief before Spring Break, we talked about helping our young learners have a stronger sense of purpose and contribution to our community. We thought it might help to ask these project developers to interview the teachers for whom they are designing.
I happened to catch two different groups interviewing with Carrie Peralta, a teacher of kindergarteners.
I love how Carrie offers our 6th graders feedback. She likes what they show her, and she asks them questions to help guide their progress. Isn’t it great that our young learners are willing to revise their work based on her feedback?
I wonder how to leverage and expand this type of feedback. When we do peer observations, are they strength-based? Do we celebrate what we see others doing well?
I continue to think about Julia’s comment to me about being prepared. Now, I am NOT suggesting that we “wing it” in class. I did not have to be prepared to direct language learning; Julia, the expert, was in the room. I did have to be present and prepared to add to the conversation.
I do wonder if we might risk visiting, collaborating, and contributing to learning by showing up, listening, and adding to thinking. What if we roll up our sleeves and participate in a class out of our comfort zone? What if we engage in and model authentic learning with our peers and others?
I have graduated from college twice. I know stuff. How can I push through the fear that I feel when asked to learn new things? Why do I immediately think I cannot contribute to learning experiences outside of my field of expertise and comfort? Why do I focus on what I cannot do? Why do I focus on what I cannot do when I work hard to focus on what others can do?
What if I give myself the same opportunities I offer other learners? What if I suppress some of the negative self-talk that runs through my mind and focus on the bright spots? How might I grow and learn if I expand my experiences and learn along side the young learners in my school?