I see storms as a training opportunity

Interestingly, it’s a bit breezy at the moment. Not quite up to knarly conditions, just enough to make it interesting. I took part in the Three Forts Challenge this weekend, a 27.1 mile run with 1,130 meters of ascent. It was windy. It was misty.  Just back from a 5 mile recovery run and it was also windy.  Thing is, I turn in to the wind.  It’s a training opportunity and a chance to get better.  To learn about how I cope.
Bimbling along this evening I reflected on my time qualifying as a mountain instructor.  Myself and my peers purposely drove overnight, often up to twelve hours to get to Scotland, when the weather forecast was bad.  We wanted the experience of navigating, sleeping, eating, talking, cooking in the worst of weathers.  We wanted to know that we had the confidence to provide great learning opportunities and bring people home safely whatever the sky threw at us.
Adversity provides learning opportunities.  Avoid the storms and there is no progression.  Knowing that we’d been in that position before helped us to cope when faced with similar challenges leading groups in the mountains. In other words, we had the mental strength and confidence to work out what to do when we didn’t know what to do.  
So. What’s this got to do with learning?  First a selfie.


This has two trains of thought linked to education.  The first is to do with this event on Thursday.  Whatever happens, it is clear that there are turbulent times ahead.  Funding short falls and curriculum changes are going to be mental, and a new bloke in the ministry isn’t going to sort that. (get over it). There’s bound to be an Ofsted inspection or two.  The storm will continue, but it’s a learning opportunity and we shouldn’t let ourselves be brow beaten into submission.  Walk along the corridors in your school. Pause and see who’s in your classroom.  See the Ministry? 

Secondly, I don’t think that teaching young people stuff is not rocket science.  I believe in the power of expert teachers. At the risk of writing something way out of line, those that argue that learning can’t be seen or measured have never seen a group of teenagers, soaked to the skin make complex decisions during a white out then produce a hot meal and sleep out in the wild with no toilet.  Learning happens and the research drive, whilst welcoming, risks overcomplicating our job with lots of background white noise.  I see this making some loose confidence rather than gain it.  Do you really need to be totally conversant with the latest theories of learning to provide great results for young people?
So, the storm is coming. What will you do?  Turn your back? Weather the storm inside shelter? Leave the profession? 
Me?  I’ll be there, right at the front. Facing the storm and charging it down.  Coming?

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