Tuesday, October 8, 2013

sols: learning to surf

Slice of Life hosted at the 

Last week, I mentioned a little nugget of advice gleaned from the audiobook The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  In almost the same breath, as I was scribbling down the author's suggestion of the greatest gift, he quoted Jon Kabat Zinn:

Photo from http://monicahaughey.com

I. LOVE. This quote.  It has the power to fulfill so many metaphors and obstacles in life.

The waves.  We are currently making a huge transition in our teaching and student learning in my district.  It's an awesome shift focusing on 21st century learning skills and incorporating the Common Core State Standards.  There is so much promise and excitement.  

Yet, it can feel like all this new thinking and change is pounding like the waves.  Who is doing the talking? Who is doing the thinking?  Who owns the learning?  Less teacher talk, more student talk.  More teacher facilitating learning, less student busywork.  More engagement.  More thinking.  More doing and learning.  

As much as I'm all for change -- and for change that is great for kids, it still can be a bit scary.  Many questions tumble around like the pounding waves:  How will it look and sound different in my resource classroom?  What about meeting the needs of our most developing readers?  What supports can I provide my students to be successful in their classrooms?  How can I support classroom teachers to make these shifts?  What about balanced literacy in a 21st century classroom?  How can I incorporate technology to enhance learning?

I'm not going to STOP these waves.  I might as well learn to surf.

The surfing.  I'm taking copious notes during professional development opportunities.  I'm reading suggested books.  I'm online connecting with authors and researchers.  I'm learning and reading and reflecting and sharing and trying and doing more more more.

I'm exhausted.  It's only October and I'm feeling like I am drowning, barely keeping my head above the water as another wave pounds down upon me.  But I will get back up and try again.  Reflecting on my practices, improving my teaching, continually asking questions and searching for those that can provide insight and understanding.

We all have our own "waves" waiting to toss us around, perhaps making us seasick or the feeling of being drenched.  Yet, we know there is always more to learn.  So, let's learn to surf and ride these waves!

Surf's up, dude!  (That's what we say, right?)  

Or, perhaps our team mantra will work too:  We can do it . . . and we WILL!


  1. I actually heard a young boy say "surf's up" into a phone one time a long while ago in California-they really do say it! Love your quote, best wishes for the surfing. So many are saying they're close to drowning-some tough times I think. Thanks for being so up about this, Michelle!

  2. Love the surfing quote! My district, like yours and many others, is also making lots of changes. It's exhilarating, but also exhausting! Like you, there are many days where I feel like I'm drowning! Thanks for bringing a message of hope!

  3. Exactly and I am going to carry your thoughts and quotes with me. I am waxing my surf board!

  4. I need this quote...learning to surf the waves...a powerful metaphor indeed.

  5. I need this quote...learning to surf the waves...a powerful metaphor indeed.

  6. Wonderful metaphor here. You have described it so well. We are getting pounded by the waves here as well. We need to take your positive attitude and "learn to surf."

  7. If we don't learn to surf (or at least tread water) we will drown, then where would our kids be? Teachers are great adapters, so we will continue to do the best we know how until the next wave comes along.

  8. I love that you have found the inner strength to surf. I hope that you will have days in between to rest and enjoy.

  9. What a great quote!

    And yes, go ahead and learn to surf.

  10. I absolutely LOVE this quote and your connection to all the waves we are riding. I TOO am exhausted and it is only October!

  11. This quote is so appropriate with all that you have going on in your life. Those waves will continue to pound and come in with a fury, but your attitude and perseverance will help you to tread water and learn to surf. There will always be times when you feel like you're going under, but hang in there (or is that hang10?), things will get better. Love ya, Mom


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.