Messiness is the goal of hard work

Messiness is the goal of hard work. 
– Alice, 4/5 A

Earlier this week, someone asked me what Blue School stands for. Of course, this answer can be found in our mission and vision statements, but at my core as an educator and as part of a movement to rethink how we conceive of education – and really, our beliefs about children – I’d like to share some thoughts with you about what I think we stand for, not in the formal sense, but in the ideas and dispositions with which we choose to show up every day.

We stand for the notion that school needs to look like and offer more opportunities to practice what we want for our world – an act of furthering the journey towards a more dynamic and vibrant democracy.

We stand for the rights of all children to be thinking actively – and to be in a thought-FULL environment – all day long. Without thinking, there is no understanding.
We stand for a notion of school that begins not with a statement but rather with a question to ponder deeply and joyfully, and a group of people young and less young to do it with.
We stand for a definition of a good day that contains both success and failure.
We stand for a daily curiosity about the nuance and ambiguity of the human mind, alongside all the science that seeks explain it.
We stand for speaking up to the intelligence of children and young adults, challenging them to work together to talk across difference, to argue, to persist, to create, to ask how they know what they know.
We stand for question marks first, exclamation points next.
We stand for joy that is rooted in the deep satisfaction that comes with effort and mastery. We stand for small moments of joy that come with laughter, friendship, and connection.
We stand for teaching that is complex, magical, intellectual, instinctual and ordinary all at once. and the discipline, intensive reflection, flexibility, and time it requires.
We stand for learning that is filled with the same joy, satisfaction, creativity, and wondering from infancy all the way into adulthood, even as it changes its look and feel.
We stand for an understanding that learning and growth is possible only when people are known, seen, and heard by one another.
Working in the parameters of today’s world, which prizes sameness, order, speed, and instantaneous perfection, requires vulnerability and patience. Believe me when I say that we yearn, just like everyone else, to fix, to correct, to answer, to invest in beautifully clean lines rather than shades of grey. I struggle with this every day. In this spirit, a great hope I have is that we can continue to say out loud that education requires this struggle, depends on our intentionality and openness, and a refusal to cling to quick fixes.

Posted on May 21, 2015 .