10 Reasons Teaching Should be More like Roller Skating

Today was an exciting day for me. It was the first field trip that we’ve gotten to take our kids on, and it might be the only field trip I get to go on in the position of a staff person working with kids. It was an incredibly fun day, yet even in the midst of the fun, I saw some striking ideas about what elements of the skating day could make my teaching better if I could remember to work them in each day.

1. Everyone gets to have fun. Staff and students alike. This means letting little things slide, but knowing when enough is enough. Laugh a little, live a little. Rules aren’t all that they’re made out to be.

2. There is a learning curve, and it’s okay to not get everything right on your first go-around. Also, verbal encouragement is worth the extra effort.

3. Teaching a kid how to skate is scaffolding at it’s finest–First, you hold their hand, providing instruction. Then, you let go and stand nearby in case they waver. Eventually, you head off somewhere else while the child practices on their own and slowly gains competence and confidence.

4. Not everyone starts at the same place, and you can’t expect them all to perform the same. Alternately, when put in a novel situation that equalizes most people’s ability levels, you open up the door for shared experiences that can form the base of relationships that otherwise would never happen.

5. It’s okay to throw in some  upbeat music every once in a while. Taylor Swift. Michael Buble, and Katy Perry tend to make people smile.

6. Students with more mastery can assist those who are struggling to catch on.

7. A little piece of candy can be a great reward or motivator if thrown in at the right opportunity.

8. Some students know more than I do, and should be allowed to demonstrate their expertise to others.

9. Well-timed silliness is good: The hokey pokey and the chicken dance never get old.

10. It’s okay to take a break and sit out every once in a while. Relax, take a breather, and head back out. We’re not meant to go full-force all the time and neither are our kids, no matter how much pressure there is to meet a timeline or prepare for an assessment. Enjoy the time you have, and appreciate the opportunity to just be with the kids.