Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My Best Strength and the Lego Exhibit that proves it

Most kids' favourite
I went interstate for the weekend and something I was yearning to do from the moment I found out it was in Sydney was the Lego Exhibit. I had only discovered that I missed this exhibit in Melbourne after it had departed so was thrilled to have a second chance.
Great representation of how I felt in an office

Art of Brick is a creation of Nathan Sawaya who, like myself, is a former lawyer who found the office environment too constraining for his creative mind. So, with my very well-behaved cousins in tow, their hot-weather exhaustion temporarily subdued by bottles of Coke that by far exceeded the size of their heads, we trekked to Sydney Town Hall to find it closed on Australia Day due to the public holiday. The revelation hit when, despite my seven and eight year old cousins' disappointment, I was obviously more dismayed than them: I am a total kid at heart.

I love Lego. I love water parks. I love cartoon movies with my all-time favourites list including Finding Nemo, Lion King, Chicken Run and that is only the beginning.

In fact, I am such a big kid that I returned to the Lego Exhibit two days later, not too be defeated, and absolutely loved it. I stayed and could not pull myself away as numerous families rotated in and out of the exhibit. Certainly, I did appreciate it on a higher order level than most children could. For instance, I took particular note of the amazing manner in which Sawaya creates such profound curves from decidedly linear materials (Swimmer). I stood in astonishment at the intricate and spectacularly detailed nature of the artworks that can take weeks to complete. I loved the fact that this is the only artwork where the artist creates the frame out of the same material as the rest of the art (Rain).

Reflecting on what I think will make me a great teacher, I think this is possibly the best strength I possess. It means that when students are enjoying something which may, to most adults, appear childish or silly, I will probably be loving it as much or more than them. This ability to engage in the lessons I plan will ensure I can, and will want to, involve myself in the experiences and learn alongside the children, sharing their amazement and enjoyment. It also means that if I am bored by a planned activity, the students are most likely going to be descend into the dreadful, dreary and dark depths of dullness as well since I share with them a love of childish fun and a dislike of tasks which are boring to children but may appear perfectly interesting to adults. It also means I will be able to relate to students and build rapports by discussing hobbies, such as visiting the Lego Exhibit, that we are likely to share in common.

So, I would love to know, what do you think your best strength as a teacher is and why?


Beth Cregan said...

I agree with you - your willingness to reflect on your teaching is a tremendous strength. i think my sense of humour has always been one of my greatest strengths. I like to laugh. I like to see the funny side of life and I like to bring that lightness and optimism into my teaching. It cuts right through anxiety and stress. Happy teaching this year Anna!

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Students absolutely love a teacher with a sense of humour. It justs brings so much more charisma and excitement to teaching. Even older years, from what I've seen, appreciate attempts at jokes - even if they sometimes laugh at the attempt rather than the joke because it didn't quite work. Plus there's usually one kid who finds it funny nevertheless. It's also great for building rapport and a fun classroom environment. Thanks Beth and wishing you a great 2012!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
Another wonderfully reflective post. I think every student secretly hopes that their teacher will somehow 'get' them, whether it is through sharing a joke, sharing a book, or sharing an appreciation of LEGO. Your post reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon with the quote, "don't put away your childish things, save them for your children". Or in your case (at this stage), "don't put away your childish things, share then with your students".

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Very apt quote. Could also be at the moment: Save them for yourself (as well as your students).
Thanks Carolyn.