I’ve been an inclusive technology specialist and digital technology consultant for several years and this year I’ve decided to return to the classroom part time. Whilst you may think teaching would be like riding a bike and I’d slip right back in, the thought that this may very well be the reality and that little had changed in the past fifteen years scared me more. I recall vividly the reasons I left the education system, disillusioned by the slow rate of change I saw as necessary to engage, inspire and meet the needs of the learners. I’d been happy with my career change until I attended a mindfulness leadership retreat and had an opportunity to reflect on when was the last time I was inspired at work. The answer was unmistakably linked to teaching and learning. It was in that moment that I realized at my heart I am an Educator. To see the changes I dreamed of I needed to get back in the game. A short time after this epiphany I handed in my resignation, and with fear oozing out of every pore I got a job back in the classroom. At the end of my first day back in the classroom I was exhausted and felt that I had not been the best version of me. I was left wondering maybe I shouldn’t have come back to the classroom, maybe teaching and I aren’t a good match for each other after all….But what if we are – that would be terrific! I recalled the advice a senior leader had given me at the time of contemplating my resignation from the NFP. Just take the right next step, don’t look too far forward. Then the next right step after that. That night I chose to lean in to the fear – embrace being a rookie again; to take the time to ask questions, pause and wonder about each individual and about how might we do this differently and I began to remember the joy of being an educator. Taking the time to pause and wonder enabled me to realize that we are all driven by emotion not reason. I believe that learning is addictive when it is a joyful personally rewarding experience that connects with your senses. As James Cameron puts it - our insatiable sense of curiosity is the most important thing we own. I’m grateful that I chose to be a teacher again and witness the joy of wonder and curiosity through the eyes of 7 year olds and challenge you to WONDER a little more and WORRY a little less. How does this story relate to Wonderopolis? Creating moments of collective joy has included Wonders of the day as well as individuals finding their own wonderful facts and new understandings via the Wonderopolis web site, which is then shared with peers. We have a culture of investigating our wonders and Wonderopolis is a the main catalyst to this change in our classroom.
Learning is addictive when it’s joyful – I wonder … Is the learning space you occupy filled with joy?
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