“Look at this, mom!”
Thea is jumping from stone to stone on the pavement next to me as I am walking in my straight line sticking to the sidewalk like a proper adult trying to get where we are going as fast as possible. Never mind that it is a Saturday, never mind that it is beautiful weather, never mind that we have the time. I want to get there fast just because we can.
At first, I think to tell her to hurry up, to come walk by me so we can get there faster. I go to reach for her, but her expressions stops me; pure joy. She is not just getting somewhere, she is exploring, balancing, laughing – she is on an adventure. And the extra 2 minutes it takes us to get to our destination are quickly forgotten as I watch her leap.
How often do we tell students to hurry up in our rooms? How often do we tell them to stick to the path, to get to the destination with an eye on the end and never taking the time to expand the journey? How often do we stop to explore, to “jump from rock to rock” within a topic simply because we are curious? Simply because it might be an adventure?
Every year I try to find time for the self-driven exploration within my room but every year by about April I feel like we have to quicken the pace. Like we need to walk faster to get to our end destination. But not this year. This year I want to enjoy my final weeks with my kids, my final weeks as a 5th grade teacher. I want to not just watch the kids explore, but explore right along with them. We will still get to our destination, we always do, but we will take the path they want as much as possible. We will find the time to try, we will make the time to laugh. I want to see them love learning as much as I do. And that won’t happen if I keep telling them to hurry up.
I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” can be pre-bought now from Powerful Learning Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.