My beautiful and vivacious and pernicious six-year-old daughter frequents a Kindergarten class. She pretends her way through life these days; it’s a problem. But, a problem I refuse to address. Because, one day, that problem with vault her to success in something.
Violet uses a wheelchair. She doesn’t use it all the time. Most of the time, she traverses time and space with arm crutches — but at school, she uses her wheelchair so she doesn’t become fatigued from chasing other small people around.
The other day, an adult at Violet’s school admitted something to me: she caused Violet to tip over in her wheelchair in the hallway (Don’t worry, no daughters were harmed in the making of this short narrative). Really, Violet wasn’t hurt, but the big person was distraught.
I thanked her. For tipping my daughter’s wheelchair over in the hallway. You see, they were dancing. An educator was dancing with Violet in her wheelchair. They were spinning and twirling and tipping and falling. I prefer that.
So, this is what we should prefer in our classrooms as well: possibilities, no limitations, risk and reward, fear and excitement, falling down, getting up and saying “I’m OK, and some dancing (at least on the page). A lot of dancing, please.
Random undiscernibly identifiable adult: please continue to dance with Violet in the hallways.
Teachers: dancing is better than walking in straight lines with bubbles in your mouth.
And, this clearly applies to reading, writing, and thinking—which is what I was writing about this whole time.
Billy Eastman is a curriculum coordinator for English Language Arts and World Languages and Culture in League City, TX. He enjoys talking with folks and finding ways to make smart ideas happen. Follow Billy on Twitter @thebillyeastman
Tagged: guest post, teaching, writing inspiration, Writing process
Yesterday I witnessed a teacher poke holes in her student’s essay because she said when the writer uses “us” or “we” she pokes a hole in her reasoning. Appalled, I could not speak. No dancing in that class. No even a tap of the foot. I’ll have to write about this soon. I need to say what I should have said before she took my breath away, not in a good way.
Thanks for this lovely reminder of what really matters.
Oh no. 🙁
I’m a pacifist, but that makes me want to poke holes in the teacher. Is that wrong? 😉
I know that this is going to sound super fluff, but the way students and teachers feel matters. It matters a lot.
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
Thank you for this! One of my kids (a student) was unhappy with me this morning because they’re doing an argument essay as a practice writing today. She was tired of all the thinking and writing and thinking because “IT IS HARD.” And she wanted to go back to just reading a book and taking a test on it because she’s good at that. I pulled her aside to explain that sometimes it’s the hard things that are exactly what we need to do and that rather than being annoyed or stressed or frustrated to try to find the joy in it–the fun of playing with words and tossing around ideas. She still thinks I’m nuts, but your post made me feel better. We should be doing more dancing!! 🙂
Yes, the challenging things always turn out to be the best things! And we can help kids feel good and comfortable with being willing to mess up when taking a risk–that’s how our brains grow.