Monday, August 24, 2015

Sometimes I Just Don't Fit In

block tower with lid (Brick by Brick)
Sometimes I feel like a lid in a block tower.
Do you ever feel as if you just don't fit? That somewhere along the line, you missed an important memo that gave the "rules" for what to do or how to be?

I feel like that at times. After all, I'm a guy in the early childhood world - a place that is filled with women. I just don't fit at times.

And I'm a teacher that doesn't mind a little chaos in the classroom. I enjoy lots of activity. I don't mind trying something new. I like when kids are talking about what they are doing. When kids are moving around out of their seats. I like playing a little "loud music" and dancing once in a while. But when I was in the elementary school, I would get looks and remarks about the things I did. I just don't fit in at times.

Think about a child in a classroom who feels like that. Maybe he wants to stand up while reading or working. Maybe she would like an opportunity to draw instead of write. Maybe clapping or jumping or stacking blocks would help them grasp addition more than using numerals on a board. Maybe he just wants to be heard, to be considered, to hear the teacher say maybe.

What about those kids?

When I become an elementary classroom teacher, I wanted to think about those kids. I wanted to provide an opportunity for them to do a few outside the box things from time to time (or more often if possible). I didn't succeed as well as I had hoped.

Now I'm not teaching in an elementary school. I'd like to go back, but it hasn't happened yet. But I think about those kids. I wonder about them. I would like another chance to help them learn in some different ways.

And I try to think about that with my church kindergarten classroom. I try to give them some control. I encourage them to think of what to do rather than just tell them what I think they should do. I want learning to be discovery and exploration and (sometimes) failure.

I think about the one who just doesn't fit in at times. And I wonder - should we try to require them to change and fit in. Or should we be trying to broaden our definition of "fitting in."

I think the learning environment can be broader. I think it must be broader so more kids can excel and grow and learn and be ready for the future world.

Otherwise, the world is going to become a really monotonous place.


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