If you know me, you will know that I believe in real, true relationships, not relationships that are surface level or one sided. I believe that relationships should be mutually beneficial and both people should gain from the interactions and learn from one another. I also believe that everything I do should have a purpose. That doesn’t mean that I have to have every second of my day planned. No way! It means if I am reading a book, taking a nap or just doing nothing, I am doing it with a purpose, and I am doing it because it is important to me and I find value in it.
In my years in the classroom, my students taught me many things: life and learning is fun, student’s need and deserve answers to their question, energy cannot and should not be contained, school is a social event, life lessons are as, if not more, important that the content lessons, everyone can succeed and there is joy in watching our friends do well.
In my years as an educator I have also learned there is another side to education that can seem contradictory to what I’ve learned from my students and what I believe: Learning is a set of expectations set by someone else, essential questions identified in a lesson/ unit are the questions that need an answer, recess is the time to release energy and have fun, conversations should be on topic and relevant to the lesson (because after all we only have 30 minutes to “work on this”) and learning and students can be reduced to a simple number on a data report.
As I reflect, I am brought back to the lessons I have learned from my students. Life lessons are very important. Life and learning should be fun. In education there are expectations, content, and data that needs to be addressed, but that is not the end goal of learning. The focus should be on something far greater. Helping our students find their way in the world through excitement, engagement and relationships so they are ready for the next step along their path.
I hope you can take a few minutes to reflect on how you and your students are building real, true relationships, embracing life lessons and having a whole lot of fun! Learning and Relationships are key to activating pathways to our future!