CHANGEd 60-60-60: REAL LIFE LEARNING

Thinking about What if we teachers had to enroll in our own classes…and at least one more? 60-60-60 #59 and reflecting…

Here’s an email I received over the weekend from a Trinity Sixth Grader:

Hello Ms. Howard and Ms. Chapman!

Do either of you know someone named Kirby Lui? Well, he commented on my blog and check out what he said!

I’ve been a photographer for quite a while and have seen many different types of photographers, and I must say that I’m very impressed at your technical and creative knowledge of photography, the enthusiasm and discipline that you approach your subjects, and your strong photographic compositions. Compared to other students that I have worked with, you have a definite edge over most of the people that I have seen.

If you continue to approach photography with the same level of dedication as I’ve seen on your website, I believe that you have a talent that could be developed to a remarkable high level if you choose to continue cultivating it. Don’t let the talent go to waste. Keep up the hard work, it is obvious from your website. I look forward to your next post.

Kirby

Isn’t that really nice?

Julia

The first art class that I remember actually enjoying was Photography 101 with Mrs. Harris in Eighth Grade. For much of my high school career, I was passionate about black and white photography but due to the demands of academics and athletics, my experimenting with this art happened only in the summer during long walks in the woods or at the beach on vacation. I am still proud of the prints I made of the massive St. Simons Island palm trees that a family friend framed and put in a guest bedroom of a beach house in Florida. I always wonder what would have happened if I had more time to devote to building upon those skills and passions that I began to uncover just before high school began.

“Megan, you have a real gift for teaching.” That’s the first comment I remember hearing about my natural ease in the classroom with elementary students…uttered first when I was in high school and then in college multiple times throughout my volunteer tutoring times and later during an internship I created with the help of a teacher-mentor. The skills and passions — similar to those I possessed with black and white photography — were there but so was the echo of a believing voice.

I believe that all students need to hear the following words:

I believe that you have a talent that could be developed to a remarkable high level if you choose to continue cultivating it. Don’t let the talent go to waste.

Those are the words that I heard over and over again about my work in classrooms and in schools. I realize that there are some students — adults too — who never hear such words or affirmations.

I wonder, if we enrolled ourselves in our own classes, would we hear ourselves offering such words of support to the budding biologists, teachers, doctors, pilots, directors, caregivers, and entrepreneurs in our classrooms? Would we hear ourselves connecting the subject areas we are teaching with the real-life learning our students are longing for? Would we be inspiring students in the way that Kirby is inspiring Julia — to keep working hard, to overcome obstacles, and to pursue an area of interest that has potential for greater learning and…life?

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