Slice of Life #2 Learning & Teaching maybe

I’m a physical education specialist. I work with young children. We spend time on a number of things. Sure, we work on movement skills – skipping, jogging, galloping, dodging, and so on. But much more of our time and energy flows into negotiating the vissitudes of the human condition. We’re a collection of several individuals. We want things, often different things. We have different ways of trying to satisfy our needs. We like some things but would prefer to avoid others. I say “we” because it is as true for the students as it is for me as the teacher.

When I introduce a game, it requires a remarkable amount of energy. With my words and movements, I try to paint a picture of what they can expect, what they’ll be trying to achieve and where other players may try to prevent that. It’s complicated. Regardless how simple the game may be, it is a complicated process because it involves young humans with very distinct understandings of the world and of what I’ve just tried to convey. They may be hearing the same words but understanding and responding to a variety of possible messages.

I think and perhaps they think we’re learning how to play a game. Yes, and. Yes we are learning how to play a game and how to get along with others, how to recognize and respect boundaries and how to practice fairness and how to tolerate confusion and uncertainty and how to be oneself in the midst of all that.

It’s never “just a game.” What we are doing every step of the way, too, is navigating the game – messy, complicated, compelling, exciting, bubbling: life.

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6 thoughts on “Slice of Life #2 Learning & Teaching maybe

  1. Wow, this post contains such a propos connections to so many avenues of life. While we all might “hear” the same words, our interpretations and listening are unique. And it’s so great how you included the children in this portrayal. Often, it seems adults think, “Well, kids are different.” Yeah no, they’re not all that different. Love how you extend the importance of what you do as a physical education specialist. It’s more than the game, so much more. Thanks for a wonderful slice!

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  2. I love the yes and. You are right- as a teacher (of anything) we are always teaching more than what it might seem at first glance. The written and unwritten curriculum aside, we are teaching so that we all become better people.

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  3. I move everyday for mental and physical health. I think that your job is one of the most powerful pieces of schooling! Introducing kids to play and movement is something they will carry for a lifetime! I love that you are writing too! I am working with my Physical Education teachers to integrate sketchnoting into their classes. I look forward to reading more from you this month!

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  4. I loved this post and that sense of all that we are teaching in addition to our field or subject matter. I might just have to borrow that line, too, next time someone asks me what I teach : “I teach the vicissitudes of the human condition, thank you very much.” But really, that IS what we are teaching–not just reading and writing for me but how to be human in a space with other humans. Really powerful piece!

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