The easy thing about my Delight Project is that I have the two cutest grandchildren ever. I could simply share a video or picture of them and know that it brings me delight and likely you too. The challenge is I have to be specific which makes it a bit harder. But make no mistake, I will be sharing my delights that feature my two babies.
Listening to toddlers grow their vocabulary might be the most precious thing I love about children. Mispronouncing words and improper grammar are cute. It’s always strange to think of the things that children do and know that we would be appalled or just feel sad for adults who portray these traits. Yet with children, observing this childish behaviour is truly delightful.
Harriet’s voice is enchanting. When she plays she morphs in and out of characters at a moment’s notice. From “I’m the Momma” to “Now I’m Peppa” to “Ina be Hay-it” (I’m going to be Harriet), she changes her voice and begins to use the posture and voice of her character. This soft voice of the Momma is my favourite. It’s soothing, comforting and slightly condescending. It’s the best. In this clip, she puts … Read the rest
My journey as an educator and human has always been centred around joy, even when I didn’t realize it. The more I reflect, the easier it becomes to see. Admittedly in my early years of teaching, I didn’t seem to have the time to reflect both and articulate that I was always seeking joy. Joy was somewhat of the antithesis to the prevailing narrative of education which was and perhaps still is focused on achievement and results. Joy is an afterthought in many instances.
So I wrote a book. I shared those ideas in presentations and talks. Occasionally I think, “Well, you’ve exhausted that topic, maybe focus on something else.” But then I remember it’s not a trend, it’s a life long pursuit that requires our attention and effort. It’s also one of those things I have to practice daily. I appreciate that I can’t avoid thinking about and working towards joy. I look at the things I read and notice that in some form or another they support that pursuit.
One such book is Ross Gay’s Book of Delights. It’s one man’s quest to document daily moments of delight.
Dan Meyer talked about “being less helpful” in his 2010 Ted Talk and has resonated with many since. Essentially the idea of allowing students to learn and struggle within interesting, useful problems. On the surface, this sounds simple but the reality is most of us, whether we’re teachers or parents or leaders of any kind often resort to providing answers, or highly structured supports in order to see children and learners succeed. In many respects, this is the greatest challenge we face as educators.
While I don’t think I’ve ever written about it here (confession: I honestly have written much about anything lately) becoming a grandfather has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I’ve said many times since that if you can bypass the children part and go right to grandparenting, I would highly recommend that! While the benefits are many, one of them is that I have fresh eyes when it comes to how humans learn. As a parent, I probably missed much of this because of the overwhelming feeling of responsibility you have. As a grandparent, I reap all the benefits of parenting but very few of the challenges.
When I present I typically wear some kind of wacky coloured pants. It began when my wife got tired of me buying infinite pairs of khaki pants. So she bought me a pair of salmon/orange pants. (This specific colour of these has been the source of controversy as well as a “check-in” point) I figured I’d try them and it seemed to get some reaction, mostly in the form of good-natured ridicule.
And then things just progressed.
Today I have around 8 different pairs that pretty much span the colour wheel. In many of my presentations, I share this tweet
Well-being is a critical movement led by the province of Ontario that is essentially a response to the ever-increasing mental health issues of our students. While this is a complex issue with many factors, the one factor that we do control is the messages we send to students. Again this is tricky. On the one hand, it is our duty and privilege to empower students. We want them to realize their potential and see things that may not even know exists. We want them to feel as if they can change the(ir) world. On the other hand, this message often turns into a high-pressure environment where unreachable, unattainable goals and achievements have students consumed with stress. So how do we provide both messages?
How do we empower students but at the same time protect and build their mental health?
I think a missing conversation is about contentment. Contentment is defined as being satisfied and not wanting more. The idea of being content can be seen as anti-innovation. Contentment is not very inspirational. It doesn’t do well on in a pretty image quotation. For some, it’s almost a downer or even a step backwards. Innovation is the buzzword of the … Read the rest