Implementing Movement Method and ATHENA/ Horse Boy has been such an exciting and energizing journey so far. Student’s, parent’s, and administrator’s feedback has been incredibly positive. Seeing student’s smiles and intellectual light bulbs brighten my day every time we work with the tools provided by the framework, has saved me from burnout and kindles my passion for teaching again to a roaring fire.
However, let me be very clear, it is never a smooth road to try to start something new in an education system that was made for the Industrial age.
It is fascinating to see a very clear divide of either ‘lovers’ or ‘haters’ of what I try to do.
There are the ‘dinosaur’ teachers that pull out the same binder every year and counting the days to retirement; there are teachers that are relieved to receive a micromanaged scripted curriculum that tells them exactly what page to use and yes, even word for word what to say. Anybody could go in that room and teach the class- the teacher could possibly even be replaced by a robot, or students could move to 100% online learning.
You know what these teachers do not provide? The most important factors of all - the relationship piece and a platform to kindle a passion for life-long learning.
The handshake in the morning, the one smile the student might get from a person that cares, the understanding that we all come with baggage and need human support, the chance to learn to play, move, and giggle because when home, mom and dad are too exhausted or busy to take the time to do so.
I do run into a handful of teachers that actually show pure dislike of what I do. My 15-year-old daughter pointed out that it's most likely because I am THAT teacher that everybody wants to be in her class. When my kiddos giggle and play, others would love to join in and dislike the paper-worksheet in front of them even more. The teachers feel threatened, but are also not willing and open-minded to change. Some will most likely always dislike what I do and be placed in the ‘hater’ column.
That is fine though, because what we do is the right thing to do. Find the people that are truly on your side and they will encourage you to keep going.
It is exactly the same in human relationships, isn’t it? You have the people that are with you for a while, but when it comes to harder times and more challenges in your life, they silently vanish and you do not hear from them again. You have the people that like a more dramatic exit from your rough times and cause even more drama before they exit your friendship - it can be heartbreaking!
But just like in the education system, it seems you find the true supporters and soul mates in those dark days. Of course, we could do our regular work day in day out and follow instructions, and do it without ever being uncomfortable and challenging... easy. But to really make a difference in the system, to be a leader, to be a trail blazer, to feel our full emotional scale, we have to struggle through challenges, stand up for what is right, and yes, fight our way through difficult times and filtering out who will really be in our tribe and belongs.
I had to ‘let go’ of a few people that simply would just bring me down, were “Debbie Downers”, and snuffed out the flame I tried to light. On the other hand, I found people that would bring so much positivity and would say things that would support me and help me stay strong. Their interaction was healing balm for my soul and kindled my creativity.
I am often reflecting on what kind of co-worker, friend, and family member I am. There are situations where I have brought people down and was not there for them the way I should have been. I try, but since we are humans, we often overreact, judge, and abandon people that need us the most.
It is constant work for me to be a better person and being a teacher, I find this powerful position should ask for an oath to promise our students that we will be the best we can be for them.
This blog came to my mind while working with Jeanne Springer and Joell Dunlap, two of the most supportive, positive, life-changing people you will ever meet. Finding people that feed your sole, inspire you to be a better person, and are always by your side no matter what silly decisions you make and how many others leave you because of them; Find those special people in your life, and they will keep you going.
Focus on the few really good ones, people that do the right thing for the right reasons, and you have it made!
There is no leadership and change without being a little uncomfortable once in a while, there is no enjoyment of the light if you never experience the darkness.
There is a very healthy balance in this world, and if we are just mindful and realize that we just have to be open for the changes that come with it, life can be much more enjoyable and productive.