I’m an art teacher, but every now & then, I’m asked to teach a different subject. This year, I have a full schedule of art except for one period of Geography. It’s already been a great learning experience, and we’re only at mid-term!
Now that we’re familiar with some basic geographical concepts, I thought it would be helpful to focus on growth mindset to set the stage for the second half of the semester. Today, my students played a major part in getting things started. And I really mean PLAYED!
So many of my students are absolutely fantastic hacky sack players. They play at the drop of a hat: in the foyer, in the front entryway for the school, outside… everywhere. They stand in a circle and skillfully kick it up, up, and up again. Sounds easy, right?
Not so easy for me!
At the beginning of class, while I was taking attendance, a small group gathered on the other side of the room and began to play. I watched them & wondered if I might be able to take advantage of this play for the purposes of learning, and to introduce growth mindset. So, I took a deep breath, walked over and asked to play.
I asked to play.
You know what? I was welcomed into the circle and was met with huge smiles. I admitted that I knew nothing about hacky sack, but that was ok. You know how I knew it was ok? Because my students told me. They told me not to worry one little bit. Bit by bit, they showed me the basics of the game: how to hit the sack against my foot, how to angle my leg properly, how the ball is passed from one person to another, and some of the rules they use… and I had *lots* of demonstrations!
I was a sponge. A beginner. A learner. And my students were my teachers.
After a bit of trying, I took a break and asked them for a favour: now that I had begun, what advice would they give to me? Should I be discouraged because I knew I couldn’t play very well? Should I give up because I didn’t think my skills could match theirs?
“I think you should not worry because they felt the same way as you did when they started and they learned, so you keep trying, don’t give up. Good luck!”
“Keep an open mind”
“Keep aim on the sack and keep an eye on it”
“My advice to you is to keep on trying and never to give up and to believe in yourself”
“Have a growth mindset”
“Look at YouTube videos about hacky sack, and practice makes perfect”
“You’re just starting to do this, it’s like if you’re new to a game you will always get better and better. Don’t beat yourself up about it, ask for tips”
Their advice means so much to me, and I don’t want to forget the lessons from today, or the memories we made.
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