I took the train from Charlottesville to Philly yesterday for EduCon 2.5. As much as I wanted to sink into the ride and experience its lento, contemplative turn through American east coast strata, I spent most of the ride sucking down cough drops, holding back barks, and trying to squeeze my consciousness out of its headache vise. I felt gross. Still, I was glad to be on the train.
Given rail traffic, light snowfall, and the vagaries of whatever, the train pulled to a stop somewhere in the woods of northeast Virginia, and I was reminded of the most important reason I love to travel by train.
I looked out my window at woods covered in a dusting of light snow. I saw the tress and their bent limbs – some fo them fallen on the ground. I saw a pile of rail road ties and a field out past the tree line. And that picture was mine at just that moment. It was pure discovery and wonder. The owner of the land I saw will never see what I saw. The person in the seat ahead of me saw something different. I won’t see exactly the same sight ever again.
And that is how our classrooms should be.
It’s not exactly that the journey is more important than the destination (which it often is); it’s that we shouldn’t be teaching and learning towards expected outcomes. We shouldn’t spend our careers trying to confirm our own biases about the profession or our kids.
Instead, we should build classrooms and communities in which we can all observe, discover, and own something uniquely ours that comes into being only because we have chosen to travel together, to learn together, and to share together – freely and openly – what it is we make of our time together.
We are not here to do what has already been done. We are here to give the world what it is we sense, think, and do.
For now, that is the singular lesson we should be teaching ourselves.