Thinking about What if schools adopted the “work in progress” mindset? 60-60-60 #33 and reflecting…

Education should help students be able to stand tall and proudly announce that they are imperfect, constantly learning and above all, a work in progress.
~Tara S. (9th grade student) on Caution: Work in Progress

Tara’s post reminds me of a passage in Abraham Verghese’s novel, Cutting for Stone. I’ve written about this passage before, but it fits so perfectly with Tara’s sentiments about school and learning that I had to include it in this series of CHANGEd posts:

Looking back I realize Ghosh saved me when he called me to feel Demisse’s pulse. My mother was dead, and my father a ghost; increasingly I felt disconnected from Shiva and Helma, and guilty for feeling that way. Ghosh, in giving me the stethoscope, was saying, “Marion, you can be you. It’s okay.” He invited me to a world that wasn’t secret, but it was well hidden. You needed a guide. You had to know what to look for, but also how to look. You had to exert yourself to see this world. But if you did, if you had that kind of curiosity, if you had an innate interest in the welfare of your fellow human beings, and if you went through that open door, a strange thing happened: you left your petty troubles on the threshold. It could be addictive.

“You can be you. It’s okay.” (“For you are a work in progress.”)

In a way, the lengthy passage from Verghese’s novel mirrors Tara’s post.

There’s a bit of disenchantment: in the narrator’s family situation (dead mother, absent father, fractured relationships with siblings) and in Tara’s reflections as well (“But no one has stopped to examine the institution where children spend the majority of their waking hours: school.”)

But there’s also hope.

There are open doors.

For the narrator, the gift of the stethoscope provided a glimpse into another world. And for Tara, who is “just a student,” the gift of being able to publicly write for an authentic audience and engage deeply with her readers through thoughtful comments and responses will undoubtedly open doors for her and for others as well.

Her principal’s support and push-back in the second comment on the post is even more evidence that Tara is learning — first hand — that being a work in progress is not only okay, but celebrated.

“You can be you. It’s okay.” (“For you are a work in progress.”)


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