Sunday, October 28, 2007

see that door over there?

Mark wants to go to the supermarket and we are a family in need of milk, so off we go. The walk from the car to the entrance is always full of excitement for Mark. I can sense his anticipation: The race-car shopping cart. The embedded Manhattan Bagel. The mountain of grapes. Just three of the wow! can't wait! supermarket moments.

When we finally coordinated our assault upon the Superfresh this evening, the sun had already set. As we began walking from the car to the door, Mark noticed a man enter the store, and then witnessed the sliding doors immediately shut.

"Oh, maaan," moaned Mark, "It's closed."

But then Mark witnessed a miracle. As we stepped up to the entrance, the sliding doors re-opened, welcoming Mark into the store. Elation ensued.

"Look, Daddy, they opened for me!"

And my wife and I let him have this moment. We allowed him to bask in the idea that this once shut door opened for him. We admired his sudden sense of self-confidence; the belief that opportunity existed where moments earlier he had felt rejected and left-out.

Mark sat in the race car shopping cart. He munched on a bagel. He kept the bag of grapes by his side until checkout. And I walked up and down every aisle wondering why teachers tend to see only closed doors; why they lose their sense of optimism and opportunity.

If they could only see what is on the other side of the glass. If only they would walk up to the door, press their hands upon the glass and peer inside, they might see something so enticing, so meaningful, that they might step back and jump up and down on the mat, willing the door to open.

I've seen teachers do just that. They'll get a glimpse of something on the other side and they'll bang their fists, they'll jump up and down, and if they need to, they'll even break in.

And it doesn't matter what's on the other side of that door. It's not about finding a wiki or a podcast or a blog. It's about finding a new, improved, or enhanced way to do something better. For themselves and for their students.

That door's not closed. It's waiting. Walk up to it. If it doesn't open automatically, open it. I've seen too many teachers turn around from a door that holds something desirous on the other side. They claim they don't have time to open it.

You have tenure, open that damn door.


Taylor said...

Okay -- I seem to be able to post comments again.

I love that you wrote about your child -- and what you learn from him/ them about learning and life. I believe strongly in learning from the kids -- but I don't have any, and probably won't. But it's rare than anyone with kids can write about them except in the form of "look what my kids did... they're so awesome!"

This, "look how cute my kid is" kind of post might appeal to some, but it doesn't hit at the root of what's really to be learned from children. I love that you can get, and share, revelations from your younguns.

Younguns are SO GREAT. It just so happens that I don't have any. And while the "cute" factor is real, the LEARNING factor is vital for people like me.

Keep sharing stuff like this!

Taylor said...

I'd be interested to know, incidentally, which of your posts did you enjoy writing the most?

Please give titles. Something to think about.

Andrew said...

Great post. Loved how you tied your experiences with your son to the difficulties teachers are facing today.

And no, I'm not a teacher, though my wife was until she recently retired to raise our 2 younguns...