This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that steps beyond.
“The paths often fork and always seem steep. You just have to keep stepping out, risk being vulnerable, learn as you go from both masters and your own observations, and explore what could be.”
How apt a description for learners and teachers alike. The focus of a teacher’s work is always on what lies beyond; encouraging learners to step out, take those risks, embrace vulnerability, and explore the unknown. Each journey is unique with its own periods of calm interrupted by rough patches and inclines that require both teacher and learner to step beyond comfort and what is familiar.
While learners are appreciated for who they are, and for their achievements, in each moment, a teacher is always stretching them to grow towards the possibilities of an unknown future; preparing learners to grasp, and create, new opportunities.
“Many of the children alive today in Western societies will still be around in the 22nd Century. How can we possibly predict what they will experience between now and then? And if we can’t do that, then how do we best prepare them for whatever is up ahead?”
I listed, as essential to successfully living in that unknown future, the development of the following attitudes and character traits:
- Able to seek solutions to problems
- Openness to new ideas and possibilities
- Divergent thinking
These add to basic levels of literacy and numeracy and the ability to critically evaluate material; for example, using information about an author’s credentials and purpose, and understanding the ways texts are constructed to persuade.
On his website, Tony Ryan says,
“The world up ahead will be amazing, but it will take each of us to push our intellect and our spirit beyond all previous possibilities.”
He describes the focus of his work as supporting others to do just that
In addition to educating for the future, teachers need to see past the labels to the truths that lie within, encouraging all learners to stretch beyond what they thought was possible. I hope there was a teacher in your life who enriched your journey.
For the teachers among you: know the importance of your role and the effect on all learners when you help them see the value of self and open their eyes to their own potential. When you help them step beyond the limits imposed by others, you help them create possibilities in their own, and our collective, futures.
It is from this perspective that I have written my response to Charli’s flash challenge.
Beyond surface features
The registrar ushered him to the doorway and promptly disappeared. He stared blankly: hair askew, face dotted with remnants of meals past, shirt lopsided and collar awry, shoes scruffy. Another needy child. You name it, he had it: split family, mother in jail, successive foster homes, sixth school in two years, learning difficulties, generally unresponsive, prone to aggressive outbursts …
No magic ball, just a futures optimism, she saw beyond the exterior to the potential within. In a moment, she was there, smiling, taking his hand, reassuring. “Everyone, say good morning to Zane. Let’s welcome him into our class.”
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.