finding flow part one

Flow means a lot to me.

I can admit that my mono-tasking, hyper focus on it, drives me to distraction at times.

At nearly every turn I am aware of my movement in space, my thoughts in my mind, the distances and connections between tasks- as I move around my class, as type on my keyboard, as I colour or draw or write or talk or walk.

All of these elements track subconsciously, and when I bring them to attention I instinctively want to make their edges smoother, the transition between them seamless, the barriers invisible. This is more than a poetic approach for me. This is me in life as well. As I move through spaces, I cannot help but calculate the most efficient path.

I have had ridiculous debates with my 8 and 6-year-olds regarding efficient workflow. I ask them why they did not bring their dishes to the sink as they walked past me mid diswashing, or put their clothes on the floor instead of in hamper, or even replace the toilet paper roll with the roll that was sitting right on the shelf. I know that they do not have answers, and I know they are learning, but something in me does not cave to these thoughts. Something in me wants them to ‘flow’ too.

This is not a teacher thing, this is me. And I can admit that even ‘teacher-me’ has difficulty keeping it real with the ‘non-teacher-me.’ But when these two sides groove and the educator in me harnesses the obsessive flow rider energy, exciting things happen.

At the heart of my feng shui mindset lives the belief that if people know better, they can act better. Now I get the fact that it is not my sole domain to make the world click with IKEA efficiency, but I have met enough people that simply did not consider, never knew, or thought it was impossible to exist in this type of space, to pursue this. And the majority of these conversations occur in my ‘teacher-me’ life.

I have sat at many round-table discussions on the topic of student success and achievement, where the systems that be, gave the dogmatic impression that they knew what was best for the child and family in question. Often the language is codified in eduwash and held at a distance with just enough sparkle to seem real. The reality is that many times the solution based success story is likely to succeed, but it is a thin offering in truth.

What’s possible in education is not set. Despite the hard truth of budgets, and expectations, and staffing, and engagement and a whole lot of other perceptual barriers, genuinely creative options for students’ success do exist.

What if..? What else..? And what now..? These three questions have become my dark arts defense against the narrow, the rushed, the vague, and the short offerings that sometimes get tabled in these discussions. Staying in the moment long enough to reveal other possibilities can be a little ‘white knuck-ly’ especially when everyone else starts posturing from an ‘As-If’ viewpoint.

But I assure you, really cool things happen in that space just beyond the textbook, in the ambiguous after moment of what if, what else, and what now?

I will get into that in part two of this post.

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