Laurence J. Peter once said,
There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.
I love this quote. Simple, humorous, and a rather large kernel of truth.
Here on Thursday Round-up (in which students and I reflect on and write about something we’ve learned this week), I’m left reflecting on the learning taking place all around. Blogging, observing, writing, reflecting, researching, siting sources, exploring cultures, considering the positives and negatives and neutrals of footprints, tracing water’s paths, and finding that students, despite staying the same, are always in flux and never the same.
Things that worked last year, don’t necessarily work this year. Jokes that used to get a laugh, now get a groan. Projects that once landed with a splash, now land with a thud.
5th graders aren’t 4th graders.
And thank goodness for that.
While I find myself on a learning curve reminiscent of my early days in the classroom, I also find myself flush with creativity, sparking with enthusiasm, and excited for the unknown. The crow bar that unseated me from my 4th grade comfort zone, left behind some collatoral damage (the contentment of knowing what I’ll do one day to the next, for instance), but it also recast me into a world I love — the world of dreamers and adventurers. The world of explorers on a shared journey.
I know these kids. Or I thought I did. Or at least last year I did. This year, they are new to me, perhaps because my curriculum is new to me. I’m seeing the students and their skills and their potential through a new lens that makes my feet itchy and makes me wonder, “What now? What can we do next? What’s stopping us from doing whatever we want?”
So, we enter this journey together. What might 5th grade be? What might we become by the end of the year — as teachers, as students, as a community, as individuals? How will this year shape the years to come?
I’m not sure, and that’s no Homer Simpson “Doh” anymore. It’s a sparkle in my eye, and an itch on my brain, “Hmmm, I wonder. . .”