Lessons learned at dinnertime

As is often the case at home at the moment, I was the one giving my 17-month-old daughter dinner last night.  As I was cleaning the splattered scrambled egg off the floor, I couldn’t help but think of how this process is such a metaphor for the learning that goes on in our classrooms.

Learning is messy.  As much as we might want to keep things in neat boxes and rows with tidy worksheets and notebooks, real learning is anything but neat.  Sometimes you’ve just got to get in and get your hands dirty!  As teachers it can be hard to let go of this idea but I think we have learn to accept it and just get used to cleaning up.

Learning can be frustrating.  Just like those times when my daughter is fighting me for the spoon, learning can be a frustrating process of false starts, missteps and disappointments.  But perseverance is key to getting through the frustration – as well as a few long, deep breaths on my part!

It can be hard to let go of control.  As a teacher and a dad I struggle with this constantly; sometimes when I try and ‘help’ her, I am actually robbing my daughter of the satisfaction of doing it herself.  It is daunting and can end in tears when it happens too soon, but our students are never going to learn to do it themselves if we always take over or tell them what to do.  How else are they going to develop the skills?

Last but by no means least: learning can be tasty!

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