It was a pink fedora kind of day. What does that mean, you ask?
This is parent-student-teacher conference week. I love the opportunity to talk to families and yet, it’s a tough week for teachers. Three hours of back to back to back conferences takes its toll…and it takes those precious after school moments usually devoted to planning and preparation and pushes them aside to make room for the conferences. And, in conversation after conversation I find myself reminding students to be playful in their learning–that learning doesn’t mean routine and boring and something you dread. You have to find ways to make it fun and interesting. And that, in turn, reminds me to be more playful in my teaching and other responsibilities. I have to find ways to make my hard days fun and rewarding too.
It seems odd to remind children to play, but when it comes to school and learning they seem to think that the path to learning is narrow. They are looking for the one right way, which sometimes transfers to battles at home about that thing called homework.
I want “homework” to be curiosity and experimentation. I want students to go home and explore ideas that came up in the classroom. I want them to play with numbers and play with language. I want them to figure out new ways to express their ideas in words…and in pictures. And I want them to come back to school and spread that energy and excitement around. And some of my students do.
This morning, one of my students arrived at school wearing a pink fedora. It was the first thing I noticed when I walked out to pick up my students this morning. I could see him from quite a distance…smiling broadly and walking with the air of assurance that comes from knowing with confidence that a pink fedora makes a statement!
Somehow that pink fedora represents that playfulness I hope for in our learning community. Playful doesn’t have to mean silly or distracting…and that fedora was neither today. For me that jaunty pink hat was a talisman of fun, of individuality, of style, with a bit of hopefulness and joy thrown in. I’m not so sure that the hat will arrive at school again…and that’s okay. One day of the bright pink fedora reminds me…and helps me remind my students…to find the fun and the playfulness in our work and our learning.
I hope you had a pink fedora kind of day too!