November 12, 2019
Last Friday afternoon I had one of those moments that usually is just out of reach, a moment when the enthusiasm and genius of a fellow educator only needs my smile as tender for it to take off into a roaring fire. I do often see the flames of great ideas, the sparks of hopefulness, and even the glimmer of the newly hatched thinking. But a full blown brush fire of an idea is such a beautiful thing to behold, particularly on a Friday afternoon.
It may be important to note that my contribution to this brush fire spark is so tertiary that it can’t be discerned. I am a long time encourager of this educator, a big fan, an instigator, and a fellow edge stretcher, so it makes perfect sense that not only did she want to share her idea with me, she was too anxious to start it to wait to share first. To her credit, it was pure genius, way beyond what I might have coached her to do. Her excitement and eagerness to jump in was beaming from her. I know that her enthusiasm will carry it to a very successful fruition.
When I read about alchemy in a cooking reference over the weekend, how one food, consumed with another food or drink, is completely transformed in taste and experience by the process, I thought that’s what I’m looking for every day, a sprinkle of something that transforms so much.
That transformation was once for me all about students. A moment or a collection of moments with struggling students that transformed how they saw themselves as learners. Hopefully forever changed by those realizations. As coaching evolved, so did the moments. Most moments I spend now are with a whole class or just with their teachers. Sprinkling those somethings in, the transformation is nearly invisible to me. I can be sad about that. What does that sadness make the alchemy? Less about the magic and more about the person, a sharp contrast to the magic that we all want to hold.
So here’s to a new kind of transformation, one where I (and others) encourage learners of all ages to transform themselves, to transform others, to cause transformations. The work should be able to go on, without me, without any one person. As my friend often quotes, you have always had the magic inside of you. So I’ll be creating transformations when possible. I’ll be encouraging transformations when I am able. Most definitely, I’ll be celebrating them wherever they happen.
I write alongside my amazing transformative writing colleagues on Tuesday encouraged by the amazing alchemists at twowritingteachers.com.