Thursday, January 28, 2021

On Knowing and Growing

A collective push to "go back" because

Well, "back" is where we belong

Yet it feels like reciting the lyrics

Without the melody inside of the song

And there is resistance, sharp and mighty 

In this, some dark underlying hues

Stay open, look and listen closer

I think we can garner some clues

Education as a whole is what?

Is it reading levels, facts and tests?

Is it curriculum over connection?

Is it expecting our personal bests?

What is our end goal for students?

To deposit an arbitrary amount of info?

To create robots who consume and produce?

To imply to know means more than to grow?

This pandemic sure has thrown us-

"Schooling" cracked open and wide

There was so much failure before this too

Can we dare to step inside?

The school to prison pipe line is as real

As the institutional response to query

Get in line, do this, do that as such 

Does it surprise us our vision is bleary?

It seems that creating life long learners

Would be one of the essential goals

So we must back up to find this path

Releasing square pegs from round holes

We have all the buzz words and concepts

Yet we neglect to apply it so well

We are missing the forest through the trees

Denying wisdom that our stories can tell

Our system is predicated on production

Creating consumers supports status quo

Are any of us interested in a system

Where to wonder is better than to know?

I ask all these questions today because

If we don't discuss it now, then when?

What didn't work then, won't work next

We have a chance here to begin again

So yes of course, we must all "go back"

But what will this look like to do?

Can we hold the trauma and shades of fear

Are we ready to try something new?

Each class has always deserved two staff

One to inspire, engage and teach lessons

Another to temperature check the room

Supervise and provide small check-ins

Essential is this right here, right now

For teachers both on zoom and in person

Attendance, reading levels and oh ya, feelings

Without this, we'll continue to worsen

Yet with more students and less space I question

Will protocols simply loosen and give way?

Do we try it and then wait to see what happens?

Or perhaps try a therapeutic new way?

Hire more staffing, we need adults who care

And bring in more counselors and people to play

Keep class sizes small, make schedules freer too

Rotate in large spaces and hear what they say!

I believe that logistics can handle what's next

Remember that playfulness heals and repairs

Consider what do YOU hold fondly from school?

Not rules and silence, straight lines on the stairs

You remember the outside the box stuff

The times you truly felt truly seen

You recall when you found a true strength

And with mindful work you did glean

You remember the offhanded personal stories

Your teacher may not even recall they told

You recall how true connection made you feel 

You learned authenticity could not be sold

You learned serious hard skills like science,

Math, literature and history as well

Soft skills like perseverance and empathy

Or flexible thinking a much lesser sell

And this unrealized message sticks with us

Please just shut up and listen to me

Your truth and experiences are irrelevant

Get the work done, spare individuality

We cannot keep going on like this

We have a chance before it's too late

We need to inspire our children now

Educators who teach and participate 

Let's remind our students how to laugh

Deeper still, because learning is fun

To be truly alive and immersed in a moment

It will be here that the real work is done

We are ALL life long learners you see

I learn this from children each day

If we take a deep breath, put agendas aside

Bravely we'll find a new way

We will follow their lead and listen

We can teach them the sound of their voice

Understanding education can be so much more

Our students deserve to have more of a choice

It is their future they seek to inherit

We wish them to have happiness and smarts

But we need to discuss how to define these

Let us begin to teach to their hearts

I know that this prose is flowery 

I realize there is not lots of concrete

I encourage us to walk a different path

I am happy to sit down and meet

If you hear my intention and urging

If you see what I mean and agree

Will you take a chance and will you go there

Will you wander to wonder with me?

There is no "going back", that's all gone now

There is only what lies before us ahead

There is possibility and hope if we see it

There is so much more to be said 

Let us be brave and go do it

Let us sit quiet and still 'til we know 

Let us share out our new wisdom boldly

Let us be proud when we reap what we sow

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