Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the year in reverse

Well I can't fight off the year end reflection any longer. This year was my first year of fully committing to learning more of and implementing the Reggio philosophy in the classroom. This path has lead me to this place of quiet contemplation now.

With any philosophy you study the initial understanding is purely conceptual. It's taking that conceptual knowledge and then putting it into action - making it yours - when true understanding takes place. This year has been incredibly experimental. Every idea I was inspired by, that seemed plausible for our class, I tried. This has been the highlight of the year, letting go of wanting to get it right...and just jumping in. It's been a year of taking chances and even though I still feel like I am a beginner, with no grounding, I know that is a good thing. I meditate and I liken this experience to Suzuki Roshi's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. The beginners mind is always preferred in meditation, it's flexible, open, and intentional.

True reflection means looking at all sides and this is where the sense of groundlessness really reveals itself. I know there were missed opportunities. Conversations that I didn't feel were ripe with potential for projects, questions I never thought to ask, observations that I didn't really understand, and so much more. This realization is difficult to sit with now. I think of unborn projects or directions I never thought of taking and it's a reminder of how essential it is to be present, truly listening and making connections every moment of the day. Looking at my photos from the year, this is the sentiment on my mind.

I am excited for next year, as I now realize that a good deal of the missed opportunities occurred because I was practicing in isolation. Several teachers at school are now planning to share our documentation and help each other in moving forward with projects. I have a value for collaboration that I have never had before - I have seen the limits of myself this year and know I need my peers next year to continue to grow. In addition to that as this blog has become a tool for reflection as well I have felt so lucky that fellow educators are beginning to stop by and offer feedback, insight, and ideas. I hope this continues - I've already been spurred forward by the comments.

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