We begin the year with a powerful metaphor suggested and defined on the first day of school. While gathered in our morning circle at the beginning of the day, I asked the students to tell me the time as we were determining how to proceed with our daily schedule. With this initial question, much is learned. Who looks at the clock and knows immediately the exact hour and minute of the day? Who looks at the clock with bewilderment? Who studies the clock carefully trying to figure it out? Who does not look at the clock at all? In this short period, a specific direction for classroom instruction began to take shape.
Jovan stated the time as 9:18. As with all questions posed, I asked Jovan to explain his thinking and show how he knows this is indeed the time. He headed to the back of the room, stood on a chair and pointed to the clock, beginning his explanation. Meanwhile, in the circle, Parker turned to me and whispered, “It would be easier with a digital clock.” Acknowledging this brilliant remark, I shared Parker’s thought with the newly formed opera company and asked, “Is school supposed to be easy?” Most shook their heads and said no. “Why not?” And a chorus answered, “We wouldn’t learn anything.” I thanked Parker for teaching us our first major lesson in class, in life.
The next day students were strategizing to find solutions for a problem in math. Someone grumbled, “This is hard.” Another replied, “It’s not supposed to be a digital clock.”
Easy will take you to nothing. Hard will take you to learning lots of stuff.” – Janoah