It has been a constant battle for me working on my patience. Its work in progress. I come from an organised and structured society that demands punctuality, productiveness and hard work. From the moment that I landed in Argentina, I had to start the process of a big change within myself. My 33 years prior to arrival had been within the English colonial system. “Time is money”. Here in Argentina, everything works differently. Nothing runs on time, nobody arrives on time, and everything takes a long time. I’ve had to adapt. When working within this environment, there is one thing that you need a hell of a lot of...patience.
As a teacher within a system that expects so much from children, I became used to pushing kids to do things that they didn’t want to do. It is frustrating when you want a child to do something when the child is set on doing absolutely everything and anything apart from that one thing. Looking back, all of the problems that I ever had in the classroom came from that source. My impatience would lead to frustration when I was teaching in a formal setting.
Here is a bold statement. In today’s world, we should be encouraging children to be off task. You say what? Let’s have a look. If you believe that school is for developing children to become future workers, then shouldn’t we be supporting the development of a variety of children with different skills and abilities? Today we don’t want workers that all do the same thing. That’s not innovation. What are businesses looking for these days? Innovators, creators, and disrupters. What is a child doing when off task? Following a thread or an instinct, thinking outside of the box, or allowing the mind to wonder. Is the ‘off task’ child not demonstrating the characteristics of the most “successful” innovators in the world?
Imagine what type of creators, thinkers, and disrupters would be coming out of schools if we decided to encourage ‘off taskness’. Instead, we are forcing kids to stay on task, follow instructions and do what us adults think is best for them. When did the limitation of a child’s natural instinct and potential ability become the best thing for them? We need to do a complete backflip and come at this education thing from a different angle. We can put opportunities in front of children and we can offer new ways of looking at traditional subjects, but we must encourage kids to be confident, and jump at opportunities that promote different ways looking at the world.