I think it’s hard to admit when things are difficult for us —
- when we don’t understand …
- when we’re not sure what to do …
- when the solution that we thought would work, isn’t working …
Do we ask for help? And if we do, what will others think of this request? What will they think of us? It’s hard to struggle. It’s uncomfortable. But it’s when we’re uncomfortable that the learning happens.
Today, my Grade 1 students were involved in a building challenge with Frances Nicolaides‘ Grade 7/8 class. This challenge connected with overall curriculum expectations from both of our grades, and it provided great hands-on learning for our students. It was very interesting to watch the students in action. Frances and I debriefed later about what we observed, and we actually got involved in a Twitter conversation tonight with Jamie Reaburn-Weir: a high school English teacher in another Board that had a structure building challenge of her own today.
During all of these conversations, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if we asked adults to do a similar challenge. How would they do? Would all of them have similar experiences? What might help some of them be more comfortable with taking risks than others?
And that’s when I thought back to my morning parking escapades. The wintertime provides me with some fun parking challenges, and this year especially, I’ve faced these challenges head-on. Thanks to Doug Peterson, I even have the Twitter hashtag, #avivaarriva, to document my parking adventures. Now, I’ll admit that I do spend a lot of time thinking about parking, and even more time thinking about how I will share my tweets. Recently, I’ve even started recording podcasts to document my learning. Why do I do this beyond the fact that it makes me (and others) giggle? Because I know that no matter how long it takes me, eventually I’ll meet with success, and there’s something exciting about being able to capture that success and share it with others. And each day that I get a little better at parking, I try out something new: from backing in to parking beside other cars in the lot — and yes, sometimes there are even those at 7:00 in the morning. 🙂 I can’t help but think that even as adults, we need to give ourselves daily challenges, experience daily struggles, and have opportunities to come out on top, so that we can understand what we’re asking our students to do and support them during the “struggling process.”
Tonight then, I challenge you to a week of “struggles”: a week of taking risks, trying something new, reflecting, and trying again. This doesn’t need to be connected to education. It can be in your personal or professional life. For one week, share your tweets using the hashtag, #my14today (“my one for today“) to highlight your one challenge and show how you persevered. Give all of us on Twitter a chance to cheer you on, to laugh with you, and to celebrate your successes. Maybe the more that we persevere, the more we can support our children in doing the same. I wonder the impact that this could have in the classroom and in the home. What do you think? Are you willing to take this challenge with me?