If I am honest I was happy I had made the time to sit on the seat outside the class to connect and chat with them, but I seriously had so much work to do I was trying to keep the 'to do' list away from my 'front thinking' while I engaged with my delightful 8-9 year olds.
The joy in their voices about being risk takers, and trying to learn was inspiring. One of the students said
' If I was perfect it would mean I can't get any better . . . but I want to keep getting better . . . so I am happy - I don't ever want to be perfect.'
That single comment has been playing in my head like a track of a song, going round and round.
Firstly, what a great self image this student has, a believe and a drive to want to continue to grow and improve - not to want to reach for perfect but to look for more than that. Her friends were less articulate but were open to the same thinking and expressed the idea that 'perfect' was not necessary.
Secondly, I now challenge myself to think in the same way, I have a small stickie note on my laptop that says 'no need to be perfect', just a small reminder that it is ok to do the best I can and to be balanced. Sometimes allowing or giving ourselves permission is actually liberating, making yourself an agent of change.
Most importantly it has me thinking about how I can build on this attitude and utilise the positive energy about learning, progress and improvement to impact the wider group of students in my Grade 3 class.
We are currently inquiring into the idea that messages are created to target specific audiences with a focus on advertising, media and persuasion. So it is a perfect chance to create a provocation to start the students talking, thinking and questioning.
I am quite excited about the possibilities . . . I have:
- borrowed books - starting with literature and asking groups to discuss the concept of 'perfection' in the stories
- created a puzzle of pieces for students to respond in a brainstorm to questions about being perfect
- the question wall is ready to go . . . now I need students to fill it with questions
- set up some small short videos for a viewing station to tune students into perfect verses not perfect
and finally the entry pass for the morning is to answer the question on the board before they come into class.
"Is being perfect important? Why? or Why not?"
I know I have students who will say YES and others who will say NO but that is what makes this exciting, challenging thinking and maybe just maybe it will make a difference for one of my students, it has already made a difference to me.