Day 7: Criticize, Create

This picture serves two purposes. The first is to share and to celebrate the fact that I now have this small markerboard where I can share quotes with my students on a regular basis. Yay! I’ve been something of a quote collector since I was a kid, and I’m looking forward to sharing this part of myself with my students—not to mention being able to share thought-provoking tidbits in the background of our classroom activities.

One of my favorite teachers in high school would often share quotes in this way, and he’d sometimes break away from the day’s math lesson to share some of his related thoughts. The one that has always stood out to me is from: “The same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay.” It’s a good message to remember after today, as is the quote that I have up currently. That’s the photo’s second purpose.

I give my students a lot of freedom to create. That kind of classroom environment—one of freedom supported by structures—is the creation that I hew away at daily with my whole self. It’s what I’m most proud of when it goes well and what I’m most distraught about when it doesn’t.

Inevitably, when students are given the freedom to be their best and most engaged selves, they sometimes fall short.

It would be easy to criticize them for it. And after today, I definitely wanted to. But I can only criticize them if it’s within the very-felt context that we are on a road to creating something amazing together—and who can say what, exactly? I think I can pull that off. And I can keep creating and being a model creator for them. Because other times, they go far beyond my wildest hopes.

This was just a bump in the road, everyone. Let’s try again tomorrow.

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