lots of right ways
CC image source: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/592496
It’s probably the wrong stage of our fourth-term school year to wax lyrical over stationery joy [pun intended], but I find I’ve become addicted to the Pinterest habit of collating what I love in visual form; stationery is one of many enticements, and these crayons are electrifying.
Lately, classroom spaces are another source of salivation: Open, colourful, engaging, mainly Finnish… the room I currently occupy when teaching at our lower school campus is a gloriously high-ceilinged, enormous-windowed, primary-scaled brick enclave; playgrounds abound, and rose beds line one side of the basketball court. These are temporary digs. We will soon be moving.
At our senior school campus, where Year 12s persist in lingering despite last week’s graduation, the demountables huddle on one side of a larger host-school, and I’ve felt like a couch-visitor all year when I drop in to teach my 2AB English class. You know the feeling when you have no idea where everyone’s hiding the whiteboard markers and staplers? There’s never any lined paper to be found….so, I take my own and bury it in a box in the cupboard along with magnets, milo, blu-tack, popsticks for random name draws, and my stash of multi-coloured balloons, textas and fluoro paper.
So to the purpose of this post: An epiphany I had while watering the herb garden this morning started my thought flow, and @tonygurr’s recommendation for reading pushed me across the line before the sun had topped our fence.
There’s no one right way of doing these things we do when we say we’re teachers, or leaders, inspirational agents, coaches or imagineers in classrooms around the world – Finnish spaces or otherwise. What we have is a set of tools [stationery, equipment, curriculum], the space we occupy with our allocated students, and whatever transformative process occurs in the exchange between us all collaboratively sharing ideas and insights about the world we inhabit in those fragments we’re allowed via the machinations of a timetable are IT. That’s all.
Even though the approaches [to leadership] are quite different, there is no point arguing about the value of one over another. If we want to debate which approach is better, then we are just looking to control what happens, we are not looking for insight. In this way, the differences among them do not really matter. Most any path will do. (Block, 2002, p.9).
I am reminded of the child health nurse I met nearly 21 years ago in Albany when – tired and overwrought from lack of sleep and uncertainties of new-motherhood – I raised with this kindly stranger my feelings of annoyance with everyone telling me what to do! Somehow – I was verging on tears, and probably in touch with a swirl of hysteria – it made me feel so stupid that I didn’t have any answers for dealing with my crying newborn, but it made things worse that everyone else seemed to know how to do it right.
My Cartoonised daughters.
Her advice? [It’s made a lot of difference over the intervening years]:
There are lots of right ways of doing something.
Block, P. (2002). The answer to how is yes. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.