This year as I journeyed as a Flip Class teacher, a surprise consequence was that I reconnected to my own learning. This post is written from my learner self to my teacher self.
When you tell me the objectives of learning right of the bat, it feels like we are going to do paint by numbers. If you already know EXACTLY what we are going to learn, is it really learning? When you tell me what you want me to know, how to say it, when to say it, do you expect me to be inspired? I want my learning to be magical, complicated and mysterious. A journey that is unique and intricate. I want to be an explorer who is brave, fierce and fully engaged in discovering answers that only I can find.
When you spell everything out so obviously, so blatantly, lacking in nuance, there is no room for me to imagine, to connect or to interpret. I want to puzzle about things, I want to get trapped in a sticky web of interwoven, subtle ideas, that I have to struggle to get out of.
I want to wrestle with ideas and thoughts, like I AM Crocodile Hunter. When you tell me exactly how to do everything little thing, down to the most boring, obvious, and tiniest detail, it crushes me, like the strong man CRUSHING a tin can. My sense of adventure and purpose are sucked out of me, liposuction style.
When I can’t create, dream or imagine, it feels like running into a concrete wall. You come along, just when I am getting started, swooping in like a super-hero, your solution to the problem, freezing me up, like the Ice-Man. Your way is so perfect, so clean, so easy for you, but those are your solutions, not mine. I have a lot of ideas, questions and solutions of my own.
Let me do it, give me the space, the time, and the opportunity.
I will. Cause it’s my buried treasure.
My learning is intensely personal, emotional and valuable; gleaming, but hidden. I did not really want you to do that anyways; to help save the day. I wanted to figure it out for myself.
And you know what?
When you do that, it snaps me shut; treasure chest closed and double locked this time.
Don’t tell me to do something that you find boring yourself. Like fill out a worksheet for 125 points, whose answers are on Goggle. Like really who cares what the Latin root for Rubidium is? If I did care, I would look it up! Are you surprised when everyone copies the answers from one student? We would “copy” the answers from the textbook, so what is the difference?
When everything is so obvious, it offends me; it insults my intelligence. In case you didn’t know I am intelligent; I have just locked it up in a chest for safe keeping. No one around here seems that interested in it anyways. They seem more interested in me being quiet, polite, well-behaved, and compliant.
When you don’t trust me to do something my way, when you lay out the criteria so tight and prescriptive, I am suffocated. You have decided what you want and I am not inspired by what you have decided for my learning.
I want big, meaty complicated, crazy hard problems. Problems that I discover for myself. I want to immerse myself in the discovery process. I don’t want or need, a guided path that is 1 person wide, straight as an arrow to follow along. I want to build my own path.
Let me go, let me be wild, let me discover and hear my own thoughts. Let me feel my way through my learning. Let me stumble, fall and pick myself up.
Let me waste time, to value my time. Let me talk with passion about topics that inspire me. Find inspiration yourself. Show me what it looks and how it sounds. Be ridiculously excited about your own learning. Embarrass and impress us with your passion.
We want to see that. Bust out of being a “teacher”, show us that you are a passionate full-on, risk taking learner.
Show us your buried treasure.