Take-offs and Landings

August 1. It’s such a bittersweet day. As Jenny said to me not so long ago, it’s the Sunday of summer. There’s an excitement about the upcoming school year, as well as the slight tinge of sadness of the leisure of summer coming to an end. I have to say, days like today make going back to work just a little bit harder. It was one of those perfect Wisconsin days: blue skies, a slight breeze, ideal temperatures. I was putzing around the apartment this evening, when I looked outside. There was no way I was letting this gorgeous evening go to waste. I strapped on my running shoes, grabbed my iPod, and headed out for an evening walk.

As I cruised my quiet neighborhood, I couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of this summer day drawing to a close. The sun was just beginning to set, brushing the landscape with a golden hue and turning the edges of the horizon a lovely pink. There were a few puffy clouds floating in the sky, and the sounds of airplanes taking off and landing. See, I live fairly close to the local airport. This past week, there has been more activity there than normal, which I attribute to EAA in Oshkosh. Tonight, I watched a plane float down and make contact in such a gentle way, followed by another lifting effortlessly into the air moments later. 

And then it hit me. That’s what I want my classroom to be like.  I want my students to be like those planes: gliding gracefully through the sky, coming in for a landing when they need me, and taking off again to explore new places as independent learners. I really think pursuing the workshop method is a way to achieve that.

The other reason I went out for a walk was to give me some thinking space for tackling this whole workshop concept. We’re so excited about it, but at the same time, feel a little lost. My hope was that as I walked, I could work through some of the logistical aspects, as that seems to be where the majority of our struggle is right now. I was able to work out the beginnings of a daily schedule. It needs work, and we need to figure out the details, but it’s a start. 

While the days of summer may be winding down, there is an excitement bubbling. It’s time to buckle down and get ready to welcome the next crew of seventh graders into the wonderful organized chaos that this year promises to be.