R is for Re/vision

| February 18, 2014

Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving—
it doesn’t matter
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a hundred times.
Come, come yet again, come.
—Rumi (1207-1273 CE)

If we want kids to learn– shouldn’t most everything be up for revision. Too often teachers– and I used to be one of them, insist that some kids don’t care and that a deadline is a deadline and a test is a test. If you miss a deadline or fail a test, you’re supposed to learn from it. What does a student learn? I remind myself that I am working with 11 year olds. If they fail a test, than I want to know what got in their way– most often it really is not that they didn’t know the material. Sometimes it’s a minor misconception that clouds their understanding or a misinterpretation of directions. Without a little investigation on my part and a chance for redemption for them– I think they only learn to think of themselves as a failure. That’s why I love that Rumi poem– the poet offers an open invitation for anyone and everyone. No despair — there’s understanding and a welcoming spirit. What kind of atmospheres to students encounter as they enter their school buildings? Is there an air of anxiety? fear of failure?