Make Learning Epic

When I was 12, me and my buddies went camping. We made a roaring bonfire and sat around it and told stories, and roasted marshmallows, and talked about girls- Then before bed, one of us poured a bucket of water on it and spread out the coals. But the next day when we climbed out of our tent, there was still some smoke coming from where the fire was. Not flames, but a few embers that somehow survived being smashed apart with a stick, a bucket of water, and a long quiet night. Luckily we didn’t burn down the forest. My son sees the world in bright and bursting colors. Everything is an adventure to him. Life is a story and he is a hero who defeats dragons, and create works of art, and wants to know how the universe works. I don’t have to make him want to learn- to him the world is fascinating. Life burns bright through the eyes of a three year old. He is a bonfire. Then toddlers get older and go to school, and their busy feet are hidden under desks and the loud ones are called troublemakers, and creating art is limited to an hour a day or in some cases is considered a complete waste of time. It’s a world where you only learn letters and numbers to receive letters and numbers. And you spend the vast majority of your childhood watching the second hand on a clock slowly Make its way around enough times Until a factory bell releases you to go home, and sit quietly some more, and do more work to get more letters and numbers. Suddenly learning isn’t out of fascination, but obligation. Too many students are disengaged and memorizing instead of learning, going through the motions to make their teachers and parents happy- or to get the grades And is that learning? Does school have to be boring? Or is it possible to reclaim what it means to be in the classroom? I think so Because I believe there’s another way to do school. One where it’s a story, an epic adventure where students are the heroes and teachers enter the stories with them. Classrooms can be a space or a setting for creativity to flourish, lives to transform, and fires to ignite. The education system needs some work, but educators can reclaim this space Enough water and idleness can put a campfire out, but sometimes there’s still embers. And that fire can burn again.

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