Uniquely Me: Summer of Love, Baby!

Frank Stella
Frank Stella

There is much talk about teaching children how to manage their digital footprint. I am new to the social media scene and I have to say that I haven’t given it much thought except to make sure that I connect in a positive way and filter who, among the world of blogging and Twitter, can up my game and keep social media about collaboration and creating rather than self-promotion.

The January Reflective Teaching prompt is: What is unique about what you bring to the classroom? I bring up my digital footprint because anyone who has followed my reflective teacher blog challenge posts might pass me off as a “fluffy, head in the clouds” type teacher because I often write about the environment I create rather than a focus on instruction. I will use this reflection to add more of an academic focus to the dialogue.

Just like Frank Stella’s painting combines an appreciation for the arts and sciences, I bring my inquisitive self to the classroom daily and look for opportunities within my lessons to help my little scientists love art and my little artists love science! After all, many artists rely on mathematical principles or indirectly make a statement about our current scientific understanding of the world. And scientists cannot be successful in breaking into new ways of knowing unless they passionately and relentlessly pursue an experiment that might seem out of this world to the lay person.

The Op Art movement was about merging the arts and sciences in order to produce something original and thought provoking.  My liberal studies education deserves the same credit for shaping me as a teacher. How fitting to choose a painting created during my first decade of life which symbolizes how I bring art, science, and a spiral of questions to help my students communicate their own meaning.

My evaluations have always noted my natural ability to ask questions that elicit higher level thinking. I think I’ve even improved upon that after taking a language class that taught me that the primary goal in communication is to be understood. If someone cannot express themselves clearly then their message has to be interpreted by the listener. I do not want to layer my own meaning on any of what my students say to me. This leads me to patiently question the speaker or involve the whole class in a dialogue that enriches all.

What makes me unique isn’t the fact that I was born in the Summer of Love, but I do bring a few redeeming qualities from that decade into the classroom: Question, Love (pursue all with passion), and Seek to understand. Peace, baby!


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