Tag Archives: school reports

Away with the fairies

© 2014 Shelly ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ https://www.sketchport.com/drawing/6517152420986880/fairies. Licensed under CC-BY.

Are you a daydreamer? Were you accused of daydreaming at school? Many of us were. With minds that are easily distracted and work that is less than exciting, it is easy for thoughts to drift away into other realms. It can take anything, or nothing, and it is often difficult to back-track from where we find ourselves, along the path of thoughts to what initiated the journey. It can be no more tangible that the dream that escapes upon waking.

While daydreaming can be pleasant and good for relaxation and creativity, it is often frowned upon in students meant to be concentrating on what they are to learn. Children would probably find it easier to attend if the work was tailored to their needs, initiated by their interests, and involved them as participants rather than recipients. The fifteen minutes of play per hour that Finnish children enjoy would also help, I’m sure, in giving time for minds to be, not corralled into predetermined channels.

In this Conversation on Daydreaming with Jerome L. Singer in Scientific American by Scott Barry Kaufman on 10 December, 2013, Singer says, I think that teachers need to recognize that often, the daydreaming is because some of the kids are bored”.

Whether through boredom or not, daydreaming can sometimes lead to breakthroughs in solving problems, creativity and productivity as described in this CNN article by Brigid Schulte For a more productive life, daydream. Brigid lists a number of daydreamers; including:

  • J K Rowling
  • Mark Twain
  • Richard Feynman
  • Archimedes
  • Newton

Other famous daydreamers include:

  • Einstein
  • Edison
  • J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Boy George
  • Richard Branson

Here are a few other quotes about the importance of daydreaming:

Keith Richards is reported as saying that “Satisfaction”, the Rolling Stones’ most famous hit, came to him in a dream, and

Paul McCartney says the same thing about the Beatles’ hit “Yesterday”.

Neil Gaiman: “You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

George Lucas: “I’m not much of a math and science guy. I spent most of my time in school daydreaming and managed to turn it into a living.”

Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, the first Australian-born female Nobel Laureate, attributes her success as a molecular biologist, in part, to daydreaming.  She is reported by the Sydney Morning Herald to have said, ‘I think you need time to daydream, to let your imagination take you where it can … because I’ve noticed [that] among the creative, successful scientists who’ve really advanced things, that was a part of their life.’

While speaking to students at Questacon in Canberra after receiving her prize, she joked, ”Your parents and your teachers are going to kill me if they hear you say, ‘she told us just to daydream.’

So why is it, if the importance of daydreaming is recognised by successful creatives, thinkers, scientists, and business people, that it is still frowned upon in school? Why do we still insist that children sit at desks, repeating mundane tasks in order to pass tests that have little bearing on their future success or on the future of our species and the planet?

In a previous post I wrote about John Dewey’s dreamof the teacher as a guide helping children formulate questions and devise solutions. Dewey saw the pupil’s own experience, not information imparted by the teacher, as the critical path to understanding. Dewey also contended that democracy must be the main value in each school just as it is in any free society.” According to Pasi Sahlberg in Finnish Lessons, What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? schools in Finland have dreamed their own dream by building upon Dewey’s.

Of course, on a much smaller scale, I have my own dream of a better way of educating our children.

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills dreamed a dream and challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves a dream. This action could have happened while awake, such as daydreaming, or make up a dream when asleep. Go where the prompt leads as it could be a nightmare or just fond memories or ambition.

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

Off with the fairies

Each year the school reports told the same story:

He’s off with the fairies.

Poor concentration.

Needs to pay more attention.

Daydreamer.

Doesn’t listen in class.

Must try harder.

Needs a better grasp on reality.

Will never amount to anything.

Meanwhile, he filled oodles of notebooks with doodles and stories.

When school was done he closed the book on their chapter, and created his own reality with a best-selling fantasy series, making more from the movie rights than all his teachers combined.

Why couldn’t they see beneath the negativity of their comments to read the prediction in their words?

 

Of course, not all daydreamers become successful, and not all children have a negative schooling experience. For a much more appreciated and positive set of comments, read this post by Elizabeth on Autism Mom Saying Goodbye to Elementary School.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

It’s written in the stars

An interest in star signs is worldwide. A google search of ‘star signs’ brought up 126 000 000 results in 0.15 seconds. You can find out what your star sign is, famous people who share your sign, get a description of your personality, find out who you are or are not compatible with, and what the future holds for you.

But how accurate do you think your star sign is, and how accurate are the predictions?

Are they any more accurate than a teacher’s predictions of a child’s future?

Think back to your school days and the comments written by your teachers on your report cards. Have you lived up, or down, to their expectations?

Comments sometimes described me as conscientious and said that I worked hard. At other times I needed to work harder, and was told that I could do better, that I needed to concentrate more on … (insert subject name – any will do). Comments in opposition, like the two sides of a coin or the twins of my star sign Gemini.

However teachers do not always know, and cannot always predict future life journeys of their students.  Consider how inaccurate were teachers’ predictions for people as diverse as Einstein, Edison, Churchill, Darwin and Pasteur who showed little promise while at school. Disney was accused of lacking imagination, and Salvador Dali of daydreaming. John Lennon’s teachers were not impressed when he answered “happy” in response to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The list of successful people with unforeseen potential is long. I’m sure you know stories of many others from all walks of life. Maybe yours is one!

Over at the Carrot Ranch this week, the flash fiction prompt by Charli Mills is to: In 99 words (no more, no less) focus on the personality traits of a character informed by the zodiac.

Mine is not exactly about the zodiac, but about another form of prediction equally as accurate.

As expected

A lawyer, a doctor and a journalist walked into a bar, ‘Class of ’99’ emblazoned on their backs.  

Talk flowed freely.

When someone mentioned old ‘four-eyes’ Proffet, laughter erupted.

“Thought he was a prophet,” they chorused.

“Mark my stars,” the lawyer mimicked, wagging his finger. “You need to learn to be less argumentative.”

The doctor peered over her glasses and giggled, “And you miss, will never amount to anything!”

“Remember Prophet’s favourite, ‘most likely to succeed’?” said the journalist. “Saw Daniel last week, handing out horrorscopes, on corner of Main and Black. Hardly recognised him. Poor sod.”

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post, including my flash fiction

I’ll leave you with a song about a star someone was born under. Not my star, and not the zodiac either, but a popular song when I was growing up.

I was born under a wandering star  sung by Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon