“The truth is the educational system has created [a] lack of confidence with its command-and-control environments. Students are given rubrics and study guides. They sit through mini-lessons and endless modeling. All this hand-holding creates a passive and paralyzed student body. If we want to end this cycle, we are the ones who have to change.”
–Michael Matera from, Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich, and Elevate Your Learners
To begin, I don’t believe Mr. Matera means to suggest that we throw out rubrics, mini-lessons, and modeling in our classrooms. I do believe he means to suggest that we use them intentionally and necessarily in such a way that we propel and then support kids on their own journeys, letting go of their hands, even when we don’t want to.
To continue, my kids have nearly reached the peak of Mt. Stress this week; they are clinging, clambering, crawling–and complaining–their ways to the top of their own ascents, their own destinations. The stress is palpable but it is not paralyzing. It’s close for some, but I am monitoring it closely, and I am ready to step in and help, but I am resisting the urge to too quickly come to their aid. And that is not easy. It’s not easy to watch my kids struggle, to see them stressed. At times, every fiber of my being wants to “helicopter” in and save them, but I don’t. I resist, shouting words of encouragement from the sidelines, offering help where and when I can, but I cannot carry them to the top. They have to go it alone, or they will not have the satisfaction of placing their flags atop their own peaks, triumphant over their own struggles, now stronger to face the next range in their respective journeys.
I began “hell week” by saying to each class, “We can do this.” And I’ve said it every day since. Yesterday, required additional assurance, as Avery in third period informed me that I would have to remind her several times over the period that she could do it. So, every five minutes or so, I cheered her on, telling her she could do it. Of course, I’d like to believe that my cheers fell on more ears than just Avery’s.
To end, today and this weekend will place my kids in a heightened state of stress as they struggle to complete all that is due on Monday. But I know they’ll survive. And while I’d like to come off as the tough-love character I am pretending to be at the moment, in 219 there’s always the “I-accept-late-work-with-no-penalty” lifeline available, and some of my kids will need to grab hold of it this weekend. Yeah, real tough guy, huh? Sorry, I am trying to change, Mr. Matera. Really, I am. But it’s hard to let go of their hands.
Happy Friday, all. Have a nice weekend.