How we doin', Fort Thomas?
We're coming up on a year of teaching through a pandemic, and the journey has been the greatest test of our careers. We can compare most years to a marathon: a race to the finish, that we're prepared for, and can find ourselves looking up and enjoying the downhills and the crowds.
|Photo by Artem Verbo on Unsplash|
Disillusionment to Rejuvenation
In a traditional year, according to the book Mentoring Matters, February and March are a time for "rejuvenation". We've spent some long months in disillusionment, and we're cruising downhill on our year, and feeling anticipation for what is at the end. We start planning for the future, planning fun things for our students after testing, and looking forward to a break in the action.
This year, in particular, it may be difficult to tap into that feeling of rejuvenation, and we may feel that our resilience is being tested. I don't have the answers for getting out of the feeling of disillusionment, and I wish there was a magic recipe for success In the book Onward by Elena Aguilar, she points to the idea of cultivating resilience though learning, playing and creating. Playing and creating have always been a big part of the way I deal with stress. I tap into my primary "Love Language" through "Acts of Service", and I also dig into new learning. For me, learning through play and creating is a huge deal. I bought a Cricut and made a bunch of tshirts for my sisters and nieces, I make a pot of tea (an art form I have been learning about) and I throw myself into a maker project, or I take on a new academic focus, or I cook a giant pot of soup and drop off containers to people I know can use a little lift. It helps me climb out of the rut.
This winter, to fuel my need to learn and grow, I decided to take part in the "Winter Explorations and Connections" NextGen series. The explorations are a series of conversations facilitated by Tom Welch, and have been one of those things that my education "tuning fork" needed to get back into a bias towards action.
Embracing The Fire
|Photo by Josh Berendes on Unsplash|
Through our discussion last week, Tom asked us to consider how the prairie fire is like the pandemic in education. What if we could treat the pandemic like an opportunity to burn away practices that are no longer useful to us and cultivate a richer learning community? What would that look like?
I am often drawn to fire imagery and the archetypal concept of regrowth through fire, so this discussion has really stuck with me.
I keep wondering: "What if we are so worried about stamping out the fire, that we are missing the opportunity to grow?"
|Photo by Alexandru Tudorache on Unsplash|
We survived the Fall, and we are making it through the Winter and are on the cusp of Spring. How might we prepare our classroom landscapes for new opportunities through reflection? What, in our control, do we want to leave behind so that we can move forward?
It might not feel that way right now, but we are surrounded by the opportunities and the right people to get things done. Land is in sight, the fire is doing its work to create an earth ripe for new growth, the nature around us is preparing the way for when we're ready for the changes we need.
You've got this.
I'm here when you need me, Fort Thomas.