Trainings are weird. I learned a lot of good information today, good smartypants stuff I’m excited to try out in the classroom, but I have to say, trainings are weird, and awkward, and uncomfortable. I think there is great value in teachers having to go to class, though, and I really do enjoy thinking about metacognition, and process, and strategies for success in learning. Plus, I really love taking notes. I do. I take notes on lots of things in my life. It’s how my brain gets organized.
In this class, almost all of the participants came from the same district, and most of them knew one another. There is a lingering, new-girl anxiety left over from my childhood, a feeling of standing alone on a crowded playground without anyone to grab on to. It is hard to speak up in a large group, but this material is pretty easy, and at some point during the day I began to relax, to free my voice, and to let go of that no-room-at-the-lunch-table feeling. We go back again tomorrow.
“The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.” Charles Kettering, the inventor of the electric starter.
I didn’t get this quote from the training, but it does address what every small group of educators decided was the most persistent problem we’re seeing in our students, which is a fear of failure so enormous that it paralyzes them, like a rabbit who suddenly glances at a python, before they even start to try. I did learn some pretty interesting strategies to address this bunny-prey phenomenon, and I’m excited to try them. I’m also excited to use them on myself. Right now.
I’m also pretty exhausted, so I’m going to try to do this fast so I can sleep. I feel like I can’t really make this pre-poem that interesting tonight. Apologies. I have eleven more months worth of blog to make up for my supreme laziness tonight. But why apologize? I have to experiment over and over and to keep trying and failing until I learn what will work. How many times did Charles Kettering have to make that starter? Lots probably.
Here goes nothing:
How to Knit Wood
What knits the fibers into pulp? Not the seed. It’s job is done with the sprouting.
It is a tiny resurrection.
What tells roots to drink in the earth, and needles drink in the sky? Not the sun.
The question is not enough. The answer is in the making.
It is all a great effort of reaching. The lines of every thick skin grown over by new pulp show its fiber.
On this plank in the garage, there are forty years. Three hundred and sixty eight pieces are cut and shined.
This is how you knit a doormat from wood.
In six hours plus two more for stringing, align each fragment of history so the grain matches, then find some end caps to hide the strings.
The reward is in the waiting, until you step with bare feet
and get what you richly deserve.