I have been frustrated with myself lately.
I have been unable to commit or connect to a specific direction and dig deep into one problem, solve it and move on.
I have been watching all the “good stuff” fly by, thinking: “Yeah I should really look into that.” I have taken some feeble stabs at it; I do have a journal full of musings and a ridiculous number of links in my Diigo. Yet, I feel detached and puzzled by all the shiny new tools and ideas.
I guess some of it is just plain summer time relax mode, but the fuzziness felt thicker than regular summer brain fuzz growing on the grey matter.
Now finally, after some serious angst, I can identify the source of this brain fog…
I am no longer certain or clear on the “why” of school and more personally, on the why of the (my) classroom in the lives of students. Perhaps this is just too much for summer ice tea sipping time, but I felt mentally paralyzed and stagnant in this zone of not knowing.
As I refer back to the past whys from my teaching life, many of the whys I find are “cause the system says so”, “cause the curriculum says so”, “cause the principal sent me to a ProD session on it”, “cause I need to raise my test scores” or even “so I can survive”.
None of these galvanize me into action any more. Even a little bit.
This confusion around the basic question of the why of my classroom (I say my now as I think through it, but it will become ours) was an obstacle course, long and tough, that I have been struggling to work through and still am. After a solid month of fairly unproductive reflection, reading, and self discussion, I finally have some faint but promising whys starting to solidify into something concrete, but just.
This process of reflection or big picture thinking also has me asking: when and how do I give students the opportunity to think deeply and ask why for themselves? Do I always demand something concrete of them that justifies our time together? Do I push them to be “productive” for the sake of self validation?
I am getting closer to defining the why of my role in the classroom for the year ahead. And the rest (the how and the what) should be be easy, right?
I do know my whys won’t be… to serve the system, or to serve the curriculum, but will be to serve students, my students.
What is your why? Do you have any clues to share?