Sometimes, you put out a beautiful provocation and everything works like magic. The whole room’s atmosphere feels different as children and adults alike are drawn to the provocation.
Sometimes, you find a scantly-dressed, provocative pin-up girl among the projector slides that you must quickly remove and hope no one saw.
Sometimes, you watch a conflict from a distance and the children are able to solve the problem on their own as you feel an unbelievable amount of pride for their ever-growing abilities.
Other times, you watch from a distance while talking to a family and the children end up in a wrestling match on the ground.
With all the best intentions in the world – the world will never abide by our expectations.
Life is often unpredictable. Some of the greatest moments in your life won’t necessarily be the things you do; they’ll be the things that happen to you. – Melchor Lim
As I move forward with my project work group of storytelling, this is a message I hope to keep close. While I brainstorm, reflect, observe, and conjure up hypothesis’ on where the storytelling group is going – all those ideas could be washed away in one fatal swoop.
While I predict the enduring understandings are leading them to explore empathy – we could end up exploring performing. While I hope they will walk away from this with a deeper understanding of why we feel connected to one another through the art of storytelling, they could walk away with an entirely different message. Their interest may have nothing to do with actual storytelling.
The art of project work is to be invested in the process – not the foreseeable outcome.
This post was inspired after making Birthday Bread for O, who just turned four. We left the bread in the oven too long, as we were busy planting seeds for our garden. It ended up burning, and O chose to have waffles with special berry-syrup on top instead. As she blew out the candles on top of her Dr.Seuss-esque stack of wobbly waffles, I realized that sometimes – the bread burns, and that’s okay.
Life is unpredictable, and I would argue that life in a classroom is even less so. We can fight it or embrace it, and I lean towards the latter.
The thing about chaos, is that while it disturbs us, it too, forces our hearts to roar in a way we secretly find magnificent. – Christopher Poindexter