One of the biggest things that we miss in class, perhaps because we are teachers, is what the kids are seeing and experiencing as we focus on providing them with good comprehensible input. We have to be in control, yes, but we can’t be bullies about it. We can’t control everything and thus ruin it. We can suggest, and listen to what they suggest, and dance like that with them. It is possible.
We must be in control of the flow of information, of course we do, and it must be comprehensible to them and on a good day interesting and on the best days compelling. That is the job of our minds in the CI equation. But maybe, at the same time we are delivering the comprehensible input, we could leave our hearts open for another kind of teacher engagement in the class – one of joy.
Elementary teachers know this joy most, perhaps, simply because little kids have lost less joy on the school road than older kids.
Being aware of what our students are seeing in their minds during class – that’s quite a concept. Maybe we could follow the hints in their eyes as they create the images we offer, each different, and really go there too, with them. Maybe we can even learn to play again or, for some of us, using their precious leads, play and laugh for the first time in our over-educated lives.
We can cultivate the mental being-a teacher-thing and try at the same time to let our hearts lead us back into the wonder of the story, back to wonderland, which many of us miss very much. How to do that? By trying to sense the kids’ vision of the story as it is getting created. By co-creating it with our students but also by co-experiencing it, as children, and not in the controlling way, which is dry.
Our children can teach us how to play again, how to be children again, how to wonder again. They can. But we have to pay very close attention to them in class if we want that. By watching them closely during class, maybe we can feel their joy and their laughter when good things happen in the comprehensible input. We can invite this into us via a sparkling bridge that goes from them to us. We speak and they sparkle.
We can become happy in our jobs.