One of my most useful tools in my teacher toolbox is the presence of my inner child. My inner child comes out to help keep things light-hearted. Without him, my empathy for childlike students would not exist. Childish sounds insulting, and it shouldn’t.
*True story: When teaching 6th-12th grade in the same day, I asked each grade level to tell me how many uses they can come up with for 1. A brick, and 2. A blanket. Guess which group had the most responses.*
One can bring out their inner child by doing one thing alone: be enthusiastically curious. We all know one of these characters. Sometimes they're kind of annoying. But, we also know the ones who are just curious, with no enthusiasm. Some of us know the character who is just enthusiastic, but not all that curious. Of the prior mentioned characters, which one radiates with youthfulness?
We abandon our enthusiasm in curiosity in time, and mankind is not alone in this phenomenon. We’ve all watched the playful kitten become the fat cat.
Speaking of the cat, they say curiosity killed it.
Here are the things I’ve heard as cause of death for cats, in order of most common to least common:
Curiosity isn’t on the list.
When someone says curiosity kills the cat to discourage your next endeavor, ask, “When?”
The enthusiastically curious inner child of yours does not fear judgment. Yes, there are stupid questions, but he doesn’t care.
He’s observant. He sees everything in the same way he sees “Spot the Differences” in the Sunday funnies. His observations lead to the curious questions that are asked with the same level of casual cool one has reading the Sunday comics.
My inner child helps me teach. Not all of you have met him. He doesn’t like some of you.
He helps me teach by helping me model what it's like to have a minimal fear of judgement. He shows divergent solutions to, supposedly, convergent problems.
I’m not always comfortable giving him the stage, but the more I do, ironically, the more I grow.
Be enthusiastically curious, diminish your fear of judgement, and observe life like a game of “Spot the Differences,” and you'll spot a difference in your growth, too.
Speaking of spotting the differences....
One year of progress thanks to hard working students and donors on donorschoose.org/mr.barbercheck.