Under pressure from a variety of directions, things turned sour in my classroom one Thursday, leaving me flustered, frustrated, and visibly on edge.
Friday followed and turned out to be one of the best days I feel I’ve ever taught. What happened to turn things around in 16 hours?
On Thursday after school, I found my thoughts cycling between two natural responses, flight: “I feel like quitting”, and fight: “I will innovate”. Chatting with a colleague, we agreed that bad days or even bad mornings are often followed by good days or good afternoons once one has had a bit of time to decompress, regroup, and anticipate. Anticipation and innovation refine and focus our methodology.
Friday morning, after establishing clear directions and expectations, splitting the class into three ability groups for math, and spending more time one-on-one with struggling students more prone to act out or avoid work, Thursday’s dilemma was avoided on Friday. We practiced the afternoon closing routine on Friday morning so every student knew precisely what their role was in ensuring good closure to the day. The day was largely wonderful.
Teaching elementary is anything but elementary, dear Watson. Last year, I taught high school English and Social Studies. This year, I accepted a primary school position. It’s a big jump. Already I can sense my neural pathways developing in new ways as I am forced into innovation. Necessity is the mother of invention.
That Friday night, I attended an inspirational workshop with Dr. Lance Wallnau of the Lance Learning Group. Dr. Wallnau is a humorous, cogent, and inspired “think trainer”. He introduced many concepts possessing great power to change the way we think, act, and create. One of the biggest paradigm shifters was the “Convergence” concept. Wallnau explains that convergence is when your role meets with your giftings and talents and you experience fulfillment, so you acquire skills with speedy mastery, and you live with passion, developing and living your values because you do not sacrifice conscience for convenience, becoming authentic.
In other words, convergence is the vehicle for authentically doing what you were made to do – and loving it.
Understanding convergence, however, would not be complete without understanding what Wallnau calls “process events”. Many people give up on the process they are going through because they sacrifice long term growth for short term ease. They fail to appreciate the big picture and focus on the temporary discomfort they are experiencing in the growth season.
As this year of teaching unfolds, I will be going through a sustained process of learning how to fulfill my multifaceted role. It will be uncomfortable as I grapple with my current limitations and trial runs and prototypes, but the payoff potential is high. Experience pays great dividends when married with wisdom.