The Week of Thinking Flexibly

It became abundantly apparent to me how little we talk of it.

I was covering a grade 3 library class, and I started by saying the lesson was about my favourite habit. Hands shot up and student after student took a stab at claiming what it was sure to be. With nary a second in between, ‘show self-control’, ‘create’, ‘act with empathy’, ‘persist’, ‘think creatively’, ‘do what is right’ were offered up with conviction. Goodness, these kids know what matters in life. And to be honest, I certainly am fond of every habit they offered. They aren’t my favourites, though.

The lesson was about thinking flexibly. It’s a habit that reminds me of my most special stories. It takes me way back to the year I lived in and backpacked throughout Europe. It takes me back to the years I lived in Japan. It reminds me of the many years I spent learning French and then Japanese. It reminds me of the most special books and inspiring courses in my life. It also reminds me of why I love what I do. Not a day goes by that I’m not challenged to think flexibly, considering an opportunity or addressing a concern that just the day before may not have even entered my consciousness.

Last week, in particular, was a week of thinking flexibly. It included a wonderful collection of emails and conversations with a parent who equally enjoys thinking flexibly on the topic of education. It included the lesson in thinking flexibly for the grade threes. It included a deeply moving Remembrance Day ceremony that, once again, took me briefly away from the charmed life we enjoy and into the tragedy and sacrifice faced by soldiers both living and gone.

Then, just before the end of this short week, the grade 8 teachers, Mr. Logan and I received an email from a student who believes a change in part of our homework practice is in order.

And so, I look forward to my meeting with her, and indulging once again in my favorite habit.

What’s your favourite habit? Please also tell us why it’s special to you, either by adding a comment, sending an email or tweeting me @afanjoy. Stories have a way of sticking. And the habits are worth sticking to.

Andrea Fanjoy,
Assistant Head, Academics
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.

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