Tie And Jeans

Today, I didn’t learn anything.

When I fall into cheerleader mode for #makered or authentic connected learning or Shawn’s BIG School or whatever umbrella noun fits at the moment, I know how silly the reductive face of that argument can seem. Let teenagers follow their interests and they’ll stumble into powerful, cross curricular learning that blows past the standard curriculum in breadth and depth. Lots of people tune out, assuming that I’ve never encountered an actual adolescent.

So I need to call out my day of learning nothing. This isn’t a sneaky “learned everything in Kindergarten” ploy, where the true learning where there all along. No shenanigans.

I dramatically failed to learn my first-day sunscreen lesson for the twentieth summer running. I reread Stranger in A Strange Land, which has all the familiarity and mounting, unshakeable distaste, of visiting distant relatives stuck in the early 60s. I didn’t make, I didn’t build. The largest stress was a nasty splinter, and while I demonstrated some mild competence with tweezers and safety pin, the lessons were Annika’s** and mild at that. I had a flat out wonderful, sunburned, family swamped day where none of my major gears managed a single click.

Every summer, when school administrators admonish teachers to relax and rejuvenate over the summer, I think about the upcoming weeks of sleep-away nerd camp. But this works too.

Even at the end, no lessons. No fold backs to classroom culture or #makered learning cycles. I can pick all that stuff up, set the gears spinning again, on some other day.

** Wear shoes on the wooden deck. If it hurts, scream a lot and you may get ice cream once it’s over. I’m happy with the first lesson. Alfie may hunt me down for the second.


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One thought on “Today, I didn’t learn anything.

  1. Andrew –

    Great and valuable “non-“lessons for all of us. There are times, especially at this point in the year, where we all need a day (or more!) to absorb what we’ve learned without adding more new information to our mental queues.

    And yes, “screaming if it hurts can get you ice cream” is a valuable and important lesson for kids. Worked for me in kindergarten when I had to get stitches for the first time :)

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