Last post, in my imaginary workshop with skeptical teachers unconvinced that children might play their way to understanding, I tried to hit the nerve of their unspoken oath to help make children happy. But truth be told, many teachers never got that memo and that very idea is new to them.
So Plan B is to have them reflect on how they feel after a day of teaching where the kids were unengaged, distracted, bored or just plain miserable. When kids are unhappy, they’re usually pretty comfortable letting you know it, one way or another. So if the altruistic notion of serving the future of humanity feels too lofty for you and beyond your skill set, consider this:
Misery begets misery. Happiness begets happiness. When you teach children like they are children, believe in their intelligence and intrinsic motivation to figure things out and understand their deep need to play around with things, be they be objects or ideas, you might notice that their awakened curiosity and joyful energy starts to come back to you. Suddenly, you’re a little less exhausted than you usually are and in some cases, mysteriously energized and maybe even—gasp!— downright happy after a long day of teaching! So it’s 100% in your interest to consider doing things differently than you have been taught— unless you’ve been taught by inspired, loving teachers. In which case, notice why you felt good in their presence when you were their student and strive to emulate it.
Make sense? Now who’s going to hire me for this workshop?