Learning: Buried treasure?

This year as I journeyed as a Flip Class teacher, a surprise consequence was that I reconnected to my own learning. This post is written from my learner self to my teacher self. 

When you tell me the objectives of learning right of the bat, it feels like we are going to do paint by numbers. If you already know EXACTLY what we are going to learn, is it really learning?  When you tell me what you want me to know, how to say it, when to say it, do you expect me to be inspired? I want my learning to be magical, complicated and mysterious. A journey that is unique and intricate. I want to be an explorer who is brave, fierce and fully engaged in discovering answers that only I can find.

When you spell everything out so obviously, so blatantly, lacking in nuance, there is no room for me to imagine, to connect or to interpret. I want to puzzle about things, I want to get trapped in a sticky web of interwoven, subtle ideas, that I have to struggle to get out of.

I want to wrestle with ideas and thoughts, like I AM Crocodile Hunter. When you tell me exactly how to do everything little thing, down to the most boring, obvious, and tiniest detail, it crushes me, like the strong man CRUSHING a tin can.  My sense of adventure and purpose are sucked out of me, liposuction style.

When I can’t create, dream or imagine, it feels like running into a concrete wall. You come along, just when I am getting started, swooping in like a super-hero, your solution to the problem, freezing me up, like the Ice-Man. Your way is so perfect, so clean, so easy for you, but those are your solutions, not mine. I have a lot of ideas, questions and solutions of my own.

Let me do it, give me the space, the time, and the opportunity.

I will. Cause it’s my buried treasure.

My learning is intensely personal, emotional and valuable; gleaming, but hidden. I did not really want you to do that anyways; to help save the day. I wanted to figure it out for myself.

And you know what?

When you do that, it snaps me shut; treasure chest closed and double locked this time.

Don’t tell me to do something that you find boring yourself. Like fill out a worksheet for 125 points, whose answers are on Goggle. Like really who cares what the Latin root for Rubidium is? If I did care, I would look it up! Are you surprised when everyone copies the answers from one student? We would “copy” the answers from the textbook, so what is the difference?

When everything is so obvious, it offends me; it insults my intelligence. In case you didn’t know I am intelligent; I have just locked it up in a chest for safe keeping. No one around here seems that interested in it anyways. They seem more interested in me being quiet, polite, well-behaved, and compliant.

When you don’t trust me to do something my way, when you lay out the criteria so tight and prescriptive, I am suffocatedYou have decided what you want and I am not inspired by what you have decided for my learning.

I want big, meaty complicated, crazy hard problems. Problems that I discover for myself. I want to immerse myself in the discovery process. I don’t want or need, a guided path that is 1 person wide, straight as an arrow to follow along. I want to build my own path.

Let me go, let me be wild, let me discover and hear my own thoughts. Let me feel my way through my learning. Let me stumble, fall and pick myself up.

I will.

Let me waste time, to value my time. Let me talk with passion about topics that inspire me. Find inspiration yourself. Show me what it looks and how it sounds. Be ridiculously excited about your own learning. Embarrass and impress us with your passion.

We want to see that. Bust out of being a “teacher”,  show us that you are a passionate full-on, risk taking learner.

Show us your buried treasure.

2 thoughts on “Learning: Buried treasure?

  1. Are you talking to me? Or about me? I’ve been reading around on line starting to plan what I want to do differently next year. I’m trying to prioritize flipping my classroom, changing my grading, integrating more projects, etc. etc. etc. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on, trying out different apps and trying to diligently record this roller coaster I’m on. I’m having the time of my life. It’s a puzzle. I’m trying to solve it. I’m trying to find the right answer for me. And the good news is there’s not one right way to get to that answer. There’s probably not even one right answer either. Awesome!

    Contrast that with a conversation I just had with an administrator at another school. That admin was very interested in saying what a great program they’d have next year because they were going to be doing A, B, and C. It was apparent that this admin was very interested in prescribing the way it was going to be. It was also apparent that his staff was not going to have the ability to do a whole lot outside of A, B, and C. It made me very sad.

    I will try to keep the spirit of your post in mind when I plan the changes I want to make. Thank you!

    • Hi Malisa, Thanks for the comment and read. I am talking to myself from my experiences of being a learner this year. I started my Flip Class journey last June and ending up discovering a whole bunch of other stuff about myself and re-connected to my own learning, and what it means to me to be a learner. I realized that I have not been as much of a role model as a learner in chief over the last couple of years that I would have liked to have been. I think I drifted away from the heart of the matter a couple of years ago when I got really good at preparing students for exams. I have been thinking a lot about how I can spotlight my learning for students and allow them to have connection and control over their learning. I don’t have the exact answer yet, but I have the intention.
      I have a hard time when admin or other powers that be want to prescribe exactly what we will teachers will do. My feeling about this come out in my post. Hopefully you will have an opportunity to do things your own way and infuse your personal experiences and insights.
      I wish you luck on your flip adventure ahead, there is not one way to Flip, not one answer to the question: how can I improve my classroom? I agree with you, it is an adventure and that is the best part of it all!

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