Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Not just one thing

I spend most of my day with teenagers. And they are fabulous. They are reading wonderful things, and they are telling me observations on life I wish I wrote down with more dedication. But every now and then, I get to visit the littles. The littles with the grand ideas. Today I whiplashed between 9th graders and 1st graders, and man---it was fun!

We talked about fonts, and then we played:

We talked about images and place, and then we played:

Those kiddos surprised and delighted me with their willingness to try, to scribble, and to fill pages full of ideas that were judged not on their alignment to any standard but only by my one rule for the day: "Does this make me happy?"

It made us happy indeed.

So, brain percolating new ideas and pockets brimming with sweet doodles from sincere seven year olds, I raced back to an afternoon with the teenagers. The dichotomy of my day reminded me of a conversation I had with a colleague when I moved from middle school up to the high school. He well intentioned-ly remarked that, "some people just aren't middle school folk." I was mildly offended, as in my transition from betweeners to teeners, I hadn't for a moment wished to escape any age or to shake off my 15 years working with younger adolescents. I just wanted to learn more and try more and explore more. I worried about how my change was perceived by others and whether or not I could be both teachers. Today affirmed for me that in so many facets of life, we are not just one thing. Just like I taught those first graders that we can be both authors and illustrators and creators and typographers, I have to remind myself that I am large, I contain multitudes.  It has taken me a long journey of teaching and creating and living and learning to get to a place where I feel settled in those multitudes.

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