Using kinaesthetic stimuli to get people writing from the heart.
Our regular meeting was replaced by the opportunity to learn to skateboard and then write about it.
Our goal: to capture the hearts of our teenagers for writing and literacy.
The results : teachers remembered that they were also writers and that they could use their fear, the fun or the challenge of putting themselves out there to stimulate GREAT writing.
A by-product : relationships strengthened by the need to trust each other with our fears and vulnerability making the team richer, stronger, more prepared to make the changes we need to make to our practice.
And so to our writing......
"The board seemed to stare at me as I tentatively approached, placing one foot gently on the front end. It was do or die. With spectators seeming to breath as one with this first, hopefully epic attempt, there was no going back.
I launched my other foot onto the rear, hoping it would not slide right off in a fit of disaster. Knees wobbling, not a pretty sight and grim determination mouring the photo at my experience that was later revealed to me, the board beneath me set off on a course of its own.
The thought of my Year 12 boys thinking I was “Super Cool Teacher”as I relegated the event to them, obviously building it to a somewhat more spectacular level, motivated my feet to cling furiously to the thin deck that separated me from the harsh surface at the quad. Crossing the finish line I am sure I heard the strains of chariots of fire in the distance swell gently. I had not disgraced myself. Jen
Bring Sneakers and Open-mind
Dangerous combo, she thought to herself. It would have to wait until tomorrow though because she’d just packed her bags and was heading home after an exhausting teaching day.
The meeting would take place at 3.15 the following afternoon, plenty of time to think of an excuse.
That night, the upcoming meeting came to mind again. Her initial hesitation was turning into palpable fear. Her voice trembled, ever so slightly as she told her husband about her day.
He recognised her anxiety. He’s heard that nervousness in her voice before. He asked her about it.
‘Nothing really’ came the slow reply. ‘But...we’ve got a meeting tomorrow afternoon’
Óh yeah’ he replied, disinterested, turning his attention back to the TV.
‘The brief said to bring joggers and an open-mind’ she continued, shifting herself so she blocked his view of the TV. It was clear, something was troubling her but he was distracted. ‘Pretty weird. Don’t you think?’
He shrugged in response.
Ít better not be a bush walk..’ her voice trailed off as the ads finished and they both turned their attention back to the news.
A sound from the kitchen woke her from her already restless sleep.
The thought of the meeting tomorrow - particularly the unknown quantity was deeply unsettling. It haunted her. Even in her sleep she couldn’t shake the feeling of dread.
She staggered out of bed. Opened the cupboard, fossicking around in the cupboard pulling out a jogger. Desperately searching for it’s pair she burrowed into the cupboard again. Putting them in her bag, she thought to herself Át least I’d have the shoes....hopefully I can find the open mind tomorrow..’ Hannah
To ride or not to ride? Rest for 24 hours. I shall hear the doctors voice as I am about to get on the board. One step at a time. I have to have a go. Who listens to doctors anyway?
Too many good memories. As soon as I take off I feel it again. The wind is blowing through my hair as I race across the school yard. Do I look cool enough? I feel pretty cool. What is everybody else thinking? Should I try that new move? Is this my time to shine?
Today however, I don’t need to impress anyone. I get off the board and step back into the present.
The afternoon humidity accentuated the perspiring. A cocktail of excitement and nerves swelled in my stomach as the group of eager and not so eager participants gathered round. the very thing I love about surfing and skating is that there are no referees, nobody to tell you how you should or shouldn't do it but now here I was trying to explain a process I saw as more instinctual than taught. A good exercise it turns out. I was challenged the other day with the question, ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’ I didn't have a great answer. At least half the people in this group would have a good response now. Holding Lou's hand my mind flashes back to when I was in Lou’s position, perched on the precipice of a ramp twice my size. ‘Just lean forward, my friend yelled at, partly sincere, partly mocking. In this case the body was willing but the mind was weak, scared to commit, desperate to pull back. Stu
The gift delayed
Boundaries, boredom and bad days disappear in stress, sadness and strain extinguished in a buzz of laughter. A nestalgia for the freedom of youth, and a release from the shackle of responsibility. Salt, sand and sun, the sobering scents of re-awakening.
I have avoided skateboarding my entire life - but you know what? In the company of friends it was awesome.
Perhaps I’ll try to stand on a board again (in the water). Well if I did it would make 1.5 attempts in 5 decades.
There is nothing quit like a physical experience, a bit of laughter, a goal - whatever, to clear the mind, feel young.
I think next time we do it we should all wear baggy trousers halfway down our backsides. That would add to the experience.
To really respond, I should give it a go down an incline and then compare it to me freedom of doing the same on a bike, or in a billycart. All equally dangerous, stupid - but fun.
You know, I liked the smile on Stu’s face, the grin with Mark. David’s smirk. Hannah’s asking Jenny’s cool approach and Lou “I’m up for anything” approach and then Nico the master.
Just hop on bike a 6 year old and sail away into the distant corners off the quadrangle. No problems.
Time to laugh. Time to relate. Time to write. Time to reflect. Time. Stephen
Grazed knees, scabby palms, sweat amassing as I await my turn.
An unknown quantity, a new skill....
‘At your age?’ ‘ How ridiculous!’
Heat and companionship; anxiety and trust; leaning on the air of encouragement.
He meets me where I’m at without judgement or agenda wanting only me to meet the challenge in my place, in my space.
And there is a tiny moment which gets tinier at each try where time is suspended, breathing stops & all hope encouraging voices became the soundtrack to the split second in which I lift my foot..........
without falling. Lou