This is my Classroom

I dreamed of being a teacher ever since I was a little girl. My mother was a teacher and each year I would go into her classroom and imagine one day having my own.
The desks all in a row; each child’s coat hook with their name strategically placed above it; even the hall pass that would identify them as one of my students; these are the things I so often thought about as I worked through the college requirements that would give me a piece of paper signifying their approval of my ability to teach.

As I prepared my classroom each year I tried to make it memorable because I knew this would be the place these children would sit all year long.
This one desk.
This one chair.
This one room, looking out this one window at only one view.
All. Year. Long.

I would change the bulletin boards with the seasons in hopes it would bring a renewed excitement and a fresh enthusiasm for both the students and myself.

I would occasionally rearrange the desk configuration to give a fresh outlook, and yet, there we remained, day in and day out, all on the same page of the same textbook, silently begging for more than the allotted 45 minutes outside that were given.

At the end of the school year I would tear it all down, only to put it right back up the following fall, with a new set of student name plates.

I was a teacher. That was my classroom.

Year after year.
Test after test.

Eventually I had my own children and stepped out of that classroom back into my home.
I would ponder what I wanted their classrooms to look like. What would their days be spent doing and learning? What would they be surrounded by?

________________________________________________________________

As I am writing this, my son is sprawled out across the front porch reading aloud to the squirrels that look down upon him from the tree branches above.

This is his classroom; the classroom I had imagined in those early years.

I watch as he puts down his book, grabs his hand saw and starts cutting the perfect angles he calculated in order to make the shelf he wanted for his fort.

This is his classroom; a place where he is free to learn and grow; where he can discover who God made him to be; his dreams, his passions, his gifts and talents.
A place where he can learn in the way his brain works, rather than in the way a test tells him he must!
This is his classroom.

I hear the sound of my daughter’s pencil next to me as she writes the words in her head that must escape. As opposed to an assigned topic that she feels no connection to, these were thoughts that were born in her heart, evolving into beautiful stories.
I let her be.
This was her classroom.

Our children have spent countless hours in the mountains studying botany with their hands in the dirt; zoology through silently sitting in the midst of the animals and anatomy through a harvest; all while students across the country sit in their rows reading texts about the same topics.

This is their classroom.

Often, it is curled up on the couch with a cup tea, a rich book and lots of conversation.
Other times it is the museum in the middle of the day; the place to ourselves, beckoning us to discover.

This is their classroom.

At times, it might be in a hospital room holding a new sibling, firing a million questions off at the doctor;
Or perhaps in the assisted living home, sitting at the feet of those that can bring history to life as we learn from them, all the while growing in compassion and understanding.

This is our classroom.
Our classrooms look as different as our children.
When we teach to the heart, their experiences become their education.
Our classrooms are where we can ask questions and discover the answers.
Our classrooms are where we can be together; not boxed in but, rather, free to wonder and to wander; to explore and create according to their unique design.
In an RV traveling the country, experiencing geography first hand;
Sitting in the back row of a town hall meeting witnessing what many will only take a test on;
In a large field with a child-engineered catapult, putting feet to a physics lesson (and watermelons to the sky.)

This is our classroom.

It is building a life together, and sometimes, as my dear friends are doing, it is building a home from the ground up with 5 boys and a baby girl. Together.

This is their classroom.

It is full of people of all ages, from all places and walks of life.

It occasionally has walls but rarely desks.

It is a place where everything is learned through and rooted in the lens of truth; where we see the hand of God in all we do.

Our classroom is inside, outside and often upside down, bursting with the wonders of the world calling us to explore, learn and grow.
Our classroom is full of life, opportunity and hope.
This is our classroom.

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