Every day we’re confronted by circumstances that range from the worrisome to the inspiring. What do you find most compelling in the world right now? How might this impact our future? What influence can you have on this situation?
My junior year in high school I interned in a first grade classroom every Tuesday for a semester. During the semester I worked one on one with Blake, a six year old diagnosed with high functioning Asperger Syndrome; led the students in raising and handling chicks; made continents out of Play-Doh and assisted students in writing their first creative stories. I discovered that I want to work with youth and prepare them to ease into the “real world.”
The Real World does not have enough childishness in it. Not childishness in the sense of first grade curriculum, but in form of raw creativity, observation, naïve abstractions, and playfulness that children are taught to grow out of. This worries me. I do not want to isolate myself from the bizarre and entertaining world around me in order to join a working class of logical thinkers. And I do not want the students I taught to surrender to an adolescence of thoughtless five-paragraph-essay production; they should discuss and ask questions, stare just as long at the pictures and the story they find in it as they spend time reading.
The children I interacted with made me hopeful and worried at the same time; they can bring some whole hearted curiosity into the world, and yet their questions may fade, they may think they have the answers or that they’ll never receive them. As a teacher I want to ignite a style of life-long curiosity and observation that will not die out.