With play as my word this year, I’m trying to approach my life and work by playing more and looking through a more playful lens. But sometimes it’s hard and those feelings of being overwhelmed and overworked creep up.
I’m lucky though. I work with kids in the classroom every day. And they remind me that when we are having fun, even while going about our work of learning, time flies by without us even noticing. This week has been like that.
And it’s not that we have done anything so very different than usual…but I think it’s just about the way we’ve been looking at our work. One example is playing with our math. Today a small group of third graders were challenged by a tricky math problem. They knew they needed to multiply 62 and 27, but they didn’t know how to multiply those numbers. Some tried adding 62 twenty seven times…but it’s so easy to make mistakes doing that. They consulted each other to see if someone had a workable strategy. And there was some good thinking going on. Another student tried breaking the numbers down to multiply easier combinations–more good thinking–but didn’t quite have all the pieces in place. Yeah–I had to work at it too…and think through where they were going wrong.
The point is that even though we were trying to figure out the correct answer, we were learning through our efforts and through our errors. As we talked through our strategies we could see where things weren’t working and wondered why a promising approach wasn’t quite right. But it was fun and we weren’t ready to give up…even when we ran out of time.
Perspective is everything. When I remember to be playful, my students play more too. When I look for the light, the darkness doesn’t seem so daunting. I love this image of Jack, my cat, finding the light. Cats are like that…they seek out the sliver of sun and squeeze themselves into that space to soak up the warmth.
I’m working to keep my perspective positive and playful this week. In spite of too many meetings, writing report cards, trying to adjust to Daylight Savings Time, and so many people being sick (what is the deal with the horrid cough that everyone seems to have?), I’m looking for the metaphorical garden. And better yet…I’m finding it. It’s all about perspective.