TGSG Note: Today’s guest post comes from Heidi Smith, a creative, talented, and dedicated 2nd grade teacher. I am excited to share her observations on creativity and play with you here. I know I learn something new every time I speak with her, and am excited to be spending time in her classroom in the upcoming weeks as we explore the wonders of butterflies, frogs, and chickens. See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru
I have found the perfect job, a place where my “co-workers” are imaginative and thoughtful and always anxious to explore new opportunities. This place is a 2nd grade classroom and my co-workers are my students.
I teach at a Title 1 school which means that the majority of students are on free or reduced breakfast and lunch. My students do not have many of the “necessities” that other children must have: laptops, video games, soccer teams, and play dates. What my students do have are amazing imaginations that inspire them to explore the world with their eyes wide open. They are bright and excited to learn in the classroom, and thrive through play and free time.
Outside of class time, their perfect day consists of playing at the park, exploring in the woods, and making up imaginary scenarios on the playground. They make walkie-talkies out of notebook paper and pretend to carry-out secret missions. They have dance contests with no music. They collect sticks and rocks and make a fort. They look up at the sky and look for animals in the clouds. They PLAY, without my guidance. Without rules or directions. They create.
Their entertainment, exploration, and learning come from being outside and interacting with their world — not from a box or a video screen. My students are “under-scheduled” and loving life. They are being kids, true seven-year-olds, and exploring their world one day at a time. As an educator, I believe this is the way it should be. They have the time to relax and have fun so they can be ready to learn.
My students remind me every day to take time to be happy that I’m here and able to explore the world with them. I have learned far more from working with them than any of my other traditional learning experiences or jobs. Perhaps we all could learn something from my very wise co-workers.
Guest Blogger Bio: Heidi Smith is a 2nd grade teacher in Virginia, and was recently voted Teacher of the Year. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and a M.S. in Educational Instructional Design. She currently has a class of 17 students, who hail from 12 different countries. This fact makes her very, very happy. Her enthusiasm for her job and love for her students is without equal.