By all means-go up the slide.


I have been thinking a lot about my teaching style and looking at the play structure we have in our yard for our two boys it suddenly made sense. A play structure and a slide can relate to my personal view on education. So what do you see in the photo above as it relates to school?

I see that there is one way up and one way down. The first time you make it up everyone is so proud of you. They cheer even louder when you get the guts to descend down the slide for the first time. Think of this in terms of learning. We are encouraged to go up the ladder and to learn along the way, yes, it will be hard but through determination you will make it to the top. And then you will get the reward of good grades. Now it is time to descend the slide. Do you remember what happens the first time a child goes down the slide? Gravity is a new concept the first time descent and you usually land smack on their ass. But you made it to the bottom and everyone is proud of you. 

Years pass and the slides get bigger, the stairs get steeper but the general approach remains the same. Take each step as it comes and soon you will reach the top. Don’t take too long though because soon a line will begin to form. Adults and children get impatient when a line begins to form so hurry up the stairs. You do your best, you try, you slip, you hang on the handrail and make it to the top but unlike your first few times, you have made it to the top with very little fanfare. To you the stairs are huge and the risk of getting hurt if you fall weighs on your mind but still you persist and there is no one celebrating your accomplishments, only another slide with even steeper stairs and when you get old enough the handrail is gone. 

The cycle of climbing the stairs is boring and it seems that no one is paying attention anyway so what else is there to do?  You look to make sure no one is looking and you seek out a new route to the top, something more exciting and then when you think there are no eyes watching, you make a break for it and try to go up the slide. You are halfway to the top only to hear “hey, don’t go up the slide, that is what the stairs are for.”  The excitement of a new, more exciting route at the top was dashed in an instant. There is no going back to the drawing board, just waiting your turn and going up the stairs because that is what you are supposed to do. 

This is the slide at our house and metaphorically it is how I view education and learning. 

There is more than one way to the top- and you will make it to the top only when you are ready and feel confident enough to head up a slide or maybe you will discover the ladder and find your own way to the top. And when you get to the top notice,

 the roof is gone.

Take time to enjoy the scenery and relish in your accomplishments. As the years pass the slides will get steeper but you have accomplished the hardest part- the first ascent. When the slides get too steep you will have the critical thinking skills to realize that hidden under the yellow slide is a set of stairs. Support is here when you need it  – but first, try and if you fail it doesn’t matter- you learned early on not to be rushed or pushed.

 You discovered how to get up the 

slide on your own time.