Coming across this quote the other day reminded me of so many times in life when learning just happened and just as many others when it kept slipping through my fingers. There are countless times that I have tried to do something and kept making mistakes or missing the mark, only to return to the task the next day or week and accomplish the goal in record time. Learning isn’t neat and tidy; in fact, it can be rather messy.
Years in school – as a student, teacher and administrator – have taught me that everyone can learn… on his/her time frame. This runs up against the need for schools to teach certain concepts at specified times of the year as mandated by the chosen curriculum. I ask, once again, are we teaching curriculum or children? Every teacher I know would opt for the second choice; we are teaching children. If that is the goal, how do we make sure that we are addressing the needs of those children? How do we meet them where they are each day when they may be in very different places? How do we measure their progress and set the next goals? This is the very difficult work of schools.
Teaching and learning are often not aligned. Children may be ready to learn in ways or on days that we are not ready to teach them. However, if learning is the priority and children are at the center of all we do, isn’t it time that we slow down, stop and look at the individuals who make up our classrooms? Isn’t it time to guide them in their learning no matter the day or the way?