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My one little word. It was something I just had to pick. There were lots of things that might have worked. Wonderful words. But I had to pick this one:
And I waited for it. To guide me, to shine a light on the answer. I kept looking, but it didn’t show up. Life went on. No magic.
I felt a bit sad about my OLW. Felt I had let it down. I hadn’t lived up to the potential of it. Perhaps I hadn’t been looking hard enough.
But sometimes things don’t shout. They sneak up on you.
Last week, wonder, made it’s presence known. I was preparing a presentation for NCTE. (Whoa! Me on a panel at NCTE. That right there is a a wonder!) Listening to student interviews on read aloud work, it dawned on me that all of this would not exist if I had not taken a bit of a risk and wondered, what if?
What if I respond to a blog? Or what if I write a blog? What if I open up to asking students open-ended questions that might not end up being what I want to hear. What if…
I had not realized how tricky wonder can be. At first glance it’s all shiny and full of possibility. But if you really look, there is a dark underbelly . What if I don’t see what I want? The outcomes might be something I’d rather not face. Wonder was and continues to be a little scary, but at the same time exhilarating.
When a student says something that challenges a practice that I hold dear into question, it doesn’t feel so good. I want to discount it, say it ain’t so. Maybe if I ask it in another way? Maybe he didn’t understand the question. But I stop and remind myself, I got what I asked for, the truth; a not-what-the-teacher-wants response. I have to celebrate that, even if, especially if, closely held beliefs are questioned. Next steps need to be taken: find out why. That is the power and potential danger of wonder.
I realized all this year I have been living in that space of wonder. Of what if I try this, what if I ask that, what if I put it out there. This has been the wonder effect in my year.
Wonder has thrown a light on my teaching that pushes me to inquiry at many junctures. I have adopted a help-me-figure-this-out teaching stance. Why? What? When? How? By looking a these questions with my students as co researchers, we reflect and refine. By co-authoring the work, we grow together.
Wonder has been there all along. And while it may not continue to be my official OLW in 2015 it will continue to guide me.
I can’t believe 2014 is almost over and NCTE is next week! Hope I get to see some of you there!