Sunday, February 21, 2016

Powerful is not Perfect

Yesterday, I attended the Dublin Literacy Conference. As always, it was a day of amazing learning and meeting up with colleagues. I attended a session by Kristin Ziemke and she said something that I just cannot escape. It keeps rolling around in my head. So this post is my effort at making sense of it and connecting it with my own world.

Powerful is not Perfect

That's what she said in her presentation. It struck me as such a wise statement. It means so much to me personally and makes me think hard about the children in our schools.

I have recently been shedding my old self in many ways. I retired two years ago and have been wandering about trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. While I have enjoyed my retirement, I was looking for a way to stay connected to learning, teaching and leading. I asked myself so many questions:

What could I do?
Should I visit classrooms so I can continue to learn from children?
What professional texts should I be reading?
Should I go to that conference?
Do I have something of importance to say?
How can I stay connected?
What is my passion?
What is it that I want to do?

I haven't found all the answers yet. But starting to write on this blog again is my first step. It may not be perfect but it's powerful.

I recently committed to getting healthy and losing weight. I have changed the way I eat and I exercise regularly. There are times when I am glad there is no one in the gym that knows me well. I feel silly doing some of the workouts because they certainly aren't perfect. But I am getting stronger - way stronger - and I am proud of that. Powerful is not perfect! For the most part, my exercises are an approximation of form and effort. But I am becoming a person that was inside of me for a long time and just couldn't find her way out. The change is powerful for me. Powerful is not perfect.

For the children in our schools, powerful is not always what is admired and noticed.

For the child who reads her very first sentence, powerful may not be perfect. But that power of reading her first sentence opens a new world of learning. That's powerful!

It's powerful for the child who unlocks a mathematical concept he has been struggling with. Is the process perfect? No, but it sure is powerful!

How can we find ways to respect and admire the power of learning? It's not always going to be perfect. For our most struggling students it rarely is. But let's celebrate the power of the process. Let's celebrate learning for the journey and not for some measure of perfect - whatever that is.

Powerful is not perfect.