Do some work

For context, I am writing this post in a unit in the Gore camp ground. Metservice tells me is 2.5 degrees C outside (feels like 1 degree C) and I have a heater on a timer…. so it is going to be chilly. While the students are in shared bunkrooms (4 per room) their heaters at least stay on.

I am here because we have a football tournament tomorrow in Wyndham. We were supposed to play today but the weather got in the way – tomorrow is supposed to be just as cold, but with no snow. YAY

The drive down was pretty horrendous at times. As it, is this getting to be an unsafe snowstorm and level of snow on the road type horrendous. Lots of ‘why am I doing this’ type thoughts crossed my mind.

The trip wasn’t all bad… playing in the snow was fun (and cold… one of my ratbag even got me with a snowball. HMMMMmmmmmm)

However, I know why I am doing it. Because I really place a value on experiences and trips like this. Stopping at the Clinton horses and getting a photo. Learning the Gore Trout and Sheep are Pokémon gyms (I am purposely not playing Pokémon…. I am too competitive and would obsess over it). A great group of girls from yr 9-13 having a good time playing in the snow and having a trip. Despite the time away from my family, despite the work for relief, despite the COLD, I also really enjoy these trips. I learn a lot about ‘my kids’ on them and it helps to strengthen relationships.

Yet I couldn’t help mull these words from Miss D the Teacher in my head as I was wondering in the van on the way down…. (thanks Danielle for again making me think about life and learning….)


Because I do tell my students to get back to work. (In some cases I beg, bribe, cajole, threaten and rage to get students to ‘do work’)

So what am I meaning when I say that…..??

When I left school today, one of my year 13’s was there (it was open day at school today and he was showing people round) and I said to him – do some learning tomorrow. Instead of doing some work. I did like how it sounded.

But while I like how it sounded, is it true?

Some people do need to ‘work hard’ for their learning. Think of a little person learning to walk. They fall over heaps and heaps and heaps. It isn’t considered work I guess because they are little. I consider myself as having to work hard to learn some things (like coding…. I am still waiting for it to click….but also I keep getting bogged down in other stuff and so lose some of the gains I make) and other things come really easily (like new software – which makes the coding thing even harder….)

In a physics sense, work = force x distance. I don’t think you can force learning on others – at least not the sort of learning you want (despite my best efforts). However, you can use self discipline to force yourself to stick something out.  And what roll does distance play?? Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome was insanity – but then why do somethings finally just click when you have done them enough times?

And how can I reconcile my ideas around valuing experiences and student centred learning and this belief I have that sometimes you have to work for things. How can I get my head around the idea that I want my students to learn themselves, but some of the things I need to teach them can’t be taught. Or others need to be practiced and learned through sheer hard work.

For now I am left pondering, as I need to go and do some work…..



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