I slipped into the classroom uninvited, a little uncertain that it was all right. Tricia paused in the mid-lesson to welcome me generously, wholeheartedly, and to introduce me to her students and then continued, completely and deeply attentive once again to the small children clustered around her on the carpet. They, too, forgot about me as soon as her soft voice began to tell them about the exciting work they were about to begin. The instructions (so clear, so inviting, so interactive) for creating a picture of themselves buried in leaves like the book they’d just read were followed by students moving (in an orderly fashion – they knew the routine) to the demonstration table to watch the painting. Once again the instructions were clear and modeled step by step. My favourite part was when she made a mistake, covering one of her sentence strips with paint. “Don’t worry,” one the children said, “everyone makes mistakes.” The small heads nodded heartily, encouragingly. It was so obvious that the classroom lived this message.
When she finished the demonstration, she said, “I know I don’t have to tell you about gorgeous printing.” Heads shook vigorously in unison, their bodies starting to vibrate with excitement to get started on their own. “And I don’t have to tell you about gorgeous cutting.” More vigorous head-shaking.
She released them then to go do their own no doubt gorgeous work. I left reluctantly to attend a meeting, but all I could think was how very very mad it is to go anywhere or read anything about teacher and learning when we have, right in our own neighbourhood, so many gorgeous examples at our fingertips!