Saturday, December 28, 2013
After a stressful two weeks of putting my application together to apply for University of Calgary's Ed.D program, I had one of my most important lessons from my eldest daughter. I was frustrated with a case of writer's block due to illness and lack of sleep and I decided that taking a break from writing my statement of intent would clear my head. I walked into my daughter's room and asked how her homework was going and we talked about how frustrating it can be when the words don't come easily. We spoke for a few minutes about what she was working on and she then asked me what I was having trouble with. The words that came out of her mouth next made me sit down and write. When I told her that I had to write about why I would be a good Ed.D candidate, she said "because you're a hard worker."
My children have always been and will always be when of my greatest sources of inspiration. When I was exhausted and wanted to give up on my masters, the thought of facing them was enough to drive me forward. When my belief waned of whether I could finish it, all I had to do was envision their faces as I walked across the commencement stage.
Learning to find sources of inspiration are an important skill for anyone to obtain--I believe that this skill should be incorporated in a student's education. My sources of inspiration are often subject specific when I reflect on my education. Some of these sources are moments in history, inventors, theorists, works of art, inspirational sayings. I found them randomly, through research and from the people in my lives. Recognizing their importance and role in my life and work has been a life long process.
My goal is now trying to formally add this learning skill into my classroom and the timing couldn't be better. When I return from winter break, my students will be entering the last few weeks of the fall semester and the workload will be ramping up with final summative activities and exams. For some students, this workload will seem overwhelming. It is these students in particular who will need to find their sources of inspiration for not only attacking the overall workload, but to successfully complete each activity and exam.
I always start the new year by drawing a life timeline on the whiteboard that visualizes how short a student's school life is, but how long it's impact will have on a student's quality of life. This year I will add a twist as I will ask my students to change their desktop image to the most expensive item they hope to own one day.
I will then follow up with a sticky note exercise. I will be placing a pile of sticky notes by each student's work station. Each student will be asked to open the assignment that he or she is finding most frustrating to date and then the students will asked to walk around each other's work areas and leave 2 comments with the sticky notes. One statement is to be a complement and the other a suggestion; students will then return to their desks and collect the sticky notes about their assignment and reflect on what their peers like about their assignment as well as suggestions for improvement. Before I ask my students to log off and get ready for their next class, I will ask them to pause and look at their new desktop image and reflect what they're going to do now so that they will be able to buy it one day.
I'm curious to see how this goes......stay tune in the new year for the results.