When I visit Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man in their classroom, down the hall from my own, I soak in the aroma of spoiled milk, listen to the sweet voices, and feel the energy that vibrates from twenty two teeny tiny bodies. It always brings pleasure to see them engaged happily, playing, but also creating and learning. Their teachers are gifted and somehow trick them into amazing feats of creativity, insight and growth.
This week, the class voted on the color for this communally painted plexiglass. I saw the photos of the children happily engaged in rolling paint over the surface after the class meeting in which they debated the merits of pink vs. red.
I wonder when the joy, creativity and excitement of learning fade. When I walk out of Gorilla Girl’s and Monkey Man’s class, I feel a little sad that my own 7th grade students are not always as eager and energetic, and that because I have to “hold students accountable” for learning things like the proper way to write a paragraph, my teaching lacks the creativity of the nursery school.
In this Deweyan school, I will find a way to recharge my creative juices so that 7th graders can also feel the joy of creating. Suggestions welcome.