Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Art of Slowing Down

Sarah and I met last night with a group of inspiring educators. I really love networking with other teams - it provides so much perspective in my thinking about teaching. When I reflect on my journey as a teacher in Kindergarten I have come SO far and when I reflect more I see the road ahead with so much more learning to come.

We talked a bit about the art and process of slowing down at our networking session. Slowing down in the potentially fast paced room in many ways....

How can we slow down in September to ensure that routines and expectations are solid? Does it really matter who can print their name in September or how many letters they know? Let's move far away from that sort of data that we so often are curious about in the fall and focus more on what the flow of the day truly looks like with the children.

If I can think back to September...how can I make next year even more smooth? How do you slowly introduce materials to the new JK students, which honouring that you have many returning SK students in the room? How can I involve them in the process of welcoming new students, yet reinforce the routines and expectations with them that have slipped away over the summer months at home.

As the year progresses keeping the mantra alive that slow and steady wins the race. How can  you slow down inquiry and project work to ensure that all learners are engaged, involved and learning? How can I contain my excitement when children show interest in something - so that I can sit back, truly listen and capture what it is they are really interested in.

An amazing example came from our discussion on a student who has been puzzling us a bit. Each day he developed and brought with him new interests and ideas in art. He has made a Ninja Turtle outfit out of fabric, a pirate ship out of wooden sticks, abstract art on canvas...he has made it all. He gets us excited about his interests, will start new things all the time and we struggle to keep up and organized with him. One of the educators said..."I wonder if he is interested in those things, or is he more interested in the process and being an artist".

I admire the way this person captures the art of slowing down. Even in conversations with her, she is calm and concise, reflective...she is wise.

It made me think, which I love, I wondered first....why didn't I think of that? I realized quickly (and isn't that my problem!!) that it is because I myself have a hard time slowing down. So...my goal is to slow down. I want to take my time now and in September in learning with the children to SLOW DOWN. In a school system with pressure to abide by bells and timetables I realize that slowing down will be a challenge, but I wonder how much deeper we will get and how much more I will notice if I can master the art of slowing down.

-Tracy

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