Learning is something we do every day, in a million tiny ways. Making, researching, figuring out and trying are all just different ways of saying that we are learning something new. Students are in this unique and wonderful place in their lives, where they are expected to dedicate themselves to the arduous task of learning, and learning alone. Their days should be spent exploring the world, their thoughts and themselves. They should be taking on different perspectives, and finding those that make sense to them. They should be tinkering, breaking, assembling and tweaking everything. And they should be doing this in a safe place, with a full belly, and an open mind. Knowing how to tackle a problem and what to do with what we learn is the challenging part of learning though, and requires some guidance. They should be exploring through many lenses, especially that of stories and books, to develop their senses of themselves and their understanding of the world.
That’s where we come in. Teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends. We’re all here to guide and develop this ability to understand the learning our students go through. We step in to tell stories and relate our own experiences. We’re there to point out, explain and relate: different ways of saying “teach.” We’re there to make it safe, supportive, and to know how to make the perfect mac ‘n cheese. We, as a team, make connections between what students see, and the world around them. We ask students to show us the differences between two ideas. We work together to show students we trust them, and that they can do it, no matter what it is.
The future is unpredictable. We don’t know what kind of world our students will be walking into, but we know it’ll change faster than ours is now. (And we all know this world is changing fast.) By encouraging students to trust and follow their better instincts and to know that they know how to make sense of the world, we may trust they’ll be able to adapt, whatever their world looks like. Further, we will build a future citizen enthusiastic to build that motor, cure that illness, or get the facts of the case. Wherever they may lean, we’ll have supported them, and respected their path to learning. Being a part of this process is the greatest achievement a person can gain.