Sunday, September 21, 2014

Soulcraft Woodshop Cohort and my Fixed Mindset

In light of the interesting years I've been having (couldn't we all say that about every year??), I've been searching for something.

Yesterday, I may have found it.

But I could hear this come out of my mouth, "I'm a special ed teacher. Wait, I'm a special ed teacher who is currently being disguised by my district as a reading specialist."  And I may or may not have started to tear up a little. (Please, please self, do not cry in this wood shop.)

So, I joined this thing.  And as we all sat around, we pondered what to call this thing...

I think we settled on the Soulcraft Woodshop Cohort.

I joined a wood shop class?  Wood?  Shop?  Me?

In an attempt to push myself outside of my comfort zone, I have joined a wood shop class.

The great part is, it's a wood shop class, with a twist.  I'm hanging with other educators who believe that the education system is screwed up and want to find a way to fix it. And the first step is to join up and collaborate, right?  So, while we're building stuff and learning new skills, we're going to talk education.

Now, the people in this room appeared to be slightly more "meta" than me.  But I could see it. Everything in this wood shop was a metaphor for education.  Everything we are going to do resembles building, molding, shaping young minds.  And at the same time, our instructors, the Soulcraft guys (Peter and Jim) will be modeling how to work with 10 different people with 10 different ideas in a setting that resembles a Maker Space.  10 totally different people... A superintendent, some principals and assistant principals, a PhD candidate, a math teacher, a high school intervention specialist... and me?

Whew. By the time I got home yesterday, I was exhausted. That's a lot of thinking. That's a lot of thinking about thinking. This is not what I do in my free time with my friends...

... but maybe I will now.

We talked a little about fixed vs. growth mindset and I realized, oh crap, I'm working with a fixed mindset. Sometimes.  When it came to this wood shop, I was surely in a fixed mindset thinking "there is no way I am going to be able to do this."  I even admitted "I really usually only do things I know I am going to be good at." I really just told strangers that?

Lastly, Peter was telling us about the cuts and grades of wood. He was talking about joinery and wow, I was getting a little overwhelmed until he started talking about the natural "defects" of the wood and how we can use the defects to make beautiful design elements. 

Done. I'm sold.  I take my students who have these atypicalities and help them grow into something beautiful.

Metaphors complete.

What will the next six weeks bring?

Here's my first sketch. Guess what it is!

P.S. First round of thanks to Sean WheelerPeter D., and all the people who got this thing going!