Yesterday, I decided that I learned enough to keep me going for a while. I had been making a conscience effort to keep up with Google Reader and all the professional journals that end up on my desk. I had been listening to NPR between meetings and while painting the bathroom. I had been taking and giving professional development. My brain just had enough!
Tonight, I took a yoga for knitters class. Yes, it’s true. If you think you have a specialty (teaching yoga) you can make it more special by adding another variable (in this case it was knitting). Tomorrow I’ll look for the class on grocery shopping while on roller blades. I digress… The class was part of the Rochester Knitting Guild, and was amazing. Matter-of-fact, I am sitting up a bit straighter as I write this. During class I learned that I like to wring out my organs, I like micro-movements of my neck, and I want to take another class. This last bit of information, that I want to take another class, totally pisses me off makes me crazy.
At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned NPR. It has become a bit of an addiction. I spent most of Saturday painting the upstairs bathroom. While balanced on the edge of the tub and a rung of the ladder, I listened and learned a bit about the “average american.” The A.A. is someone who, rather than knowing a lot about a little, knows a little about a lot. The A.A. lives within 50 miles of where he grew up. The A.A. takes a 10 minute shower. The A.A. eats peanut butter at least once a week. The A.A. is me.
It scares me to think that I am average. I do things like take yoga for knitters for crying out loud!!!! How could that be average? I want to be unique. I love to learn new things! I want to do things that not everyone does. For example…I am a curler with the Rochester Curling Club. I am a Macintosh junkie. I Skyped before it was cool. I have twice been nominated for Teacher of the Year. Yet, am I really average? What about the idea of being average makes me so uncomfortable?
Imagine that you are running for office. (Hard to imagine something political being in the forefront of your life, right?) It’s not the average number of votes that gets you elected. Oh wait, it sort of is…states have delegates. Delegates are distributed – you may not get the most delegates even if you have the most votes. Ok, bad example. Imagine you are taking a test. You have four hours to finish; you have to stay for two and they kick you out at four. It takes you three hours. You didn’t rush, you had ample time to check your work, and you feel satisfied when finished. Hmmm. Maybe it is okay to be average. Well it’s never okay to be average at work…right? Pretend you are hired by a company or school district, not as the first choice, but also not as the last choice. You work hard and are loyal to the company. You never receive a bad review. You never are courted by another company and have to become someone you are not. You stay at the same place of employment for your lifetime… Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad.
As we teach our students, we often assign them grades. Those grades are often called averages. Sometimes those averages do not represent learning. Mine never did. It seems to me, we need to lose the term average. If the “average American” knows a little about a lot, likes lots of different things, and enjoys being well-rounded, I say (drum roll please) I want to be average!! (I just wish we had a better word for it.)
Some questions I leave you with:
- Is average enough for our students?
- Is being average a bad thing?
- If average is good, does that mean catering to the top 10% and the bottom 10% isn’t going to work anymore?