Response to Tricia Atkinson
I really liked the phrase “Downward Spiral.” We see that in almost everything. I see it in the news and the way my students talk to each other. I see it in the way we as teachers talk when we get together. I hope I can keep this phrase in my mind whenever I talk to colleagues or students. You are right in saying that The Art of Possibility is not second nature in the world of modern education, but maybe we can make it second nature to us.
As easy as it is to get into a downward negative spiral towards my students, blaming them for their negative, rude, and apathetic actions. But what about what I have done to contribute? What about my negative sarcasm or mediocre effort? Not to mention what they have eaten lately or when the last time is that they got a hug or “good job” from a parent? Trying to remember myself in each other person’s shoes will help me to react with a more enlightened attitude, just as Ben did when his students partied in South America. What would it have helped to “go off” like so many of us teachers are expected to do. Instead, the kids understood, felt enabled, apologetic, regretful, and still valued. Amazing. This Art of Possibility stuff is definitely not second nature in the world of modern education, but I feel like a breath of fresh air, a reminder of options and how to go with the flow, giving students and others in my life the benefit of the doubt, has been given to me…I am inspired and grateful.