Summer always seems to go too fast and this summer is certainly no exception. My thoughts and actions have been completely consumed by our house remodel, which is still underway. We began in June and I was naive enough to think that we would be finished by the time I returned to school in August. My return date is this coming Friday… the house is nowhere close to being finished. There have only been a few minor hiccups; the process just takes time. The process is not easy.
My role in the house remodel has evolved. I was originally the “decision maker,” the one who made decisions about the layout of the new kitchen. As that decision maker, I quickly realized that, since our house is small, what happened in the kitchen would affect the rest of the house. Changing cabinet design and color meant changing the color of the window casing and floor trim… throughout the whole house. Thus, I acquired the job of sanding and staining casing and trim. Oh, and if you change the color of the casing and trim, the interior doors must also change. So, there’s that.
Which is to say that I’ve been doing a LOT of sanding, staining (and crying and complaining!). With every door, window, and piece of trim that needs to be sanded and stained, I look for the “Easy Button.” I look for a method that will take the least amount of time with outstanding results. My stain-soaked hands are here to tell you that the “Easy Button” with outstanding results does not exist. In order to do the job well and get the desired results, much blood, sweat, tears, and time are required.
Throughout the process, I can’t help but think of the connections to teaching (perhaps influenced by the podcasts I get to listen to while engaging in the work!). Last week, I wrote about the incredible podcast episode from EDVIEW360 featuring Dr. Anita Archer and Dr. Louisa Moats. Among the many important things discussed (marrying the science of reading with the science of teaching), no less than four times did these two education phenoms mention that this teaching gig is not easy. Nancy Hennessy repeated the sentiment multiple times in the latest Melissa and Lori Love Literacy episode (a must-listen!) as she discussed the complexity of reading comprehension.
Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend the first ever Iowa Science of Reading Summit at the end of July received affirmation that teaching is in fact, quite difficult. The amazing Jan Hasbrouck shared two quotes that illustrate the point, “Teaching is a science, artfully applied,” and “Teaching is a constant stream of decisions.” Yes, indeed.
There are things that make the work easier, not to be confused with easy (’cause it just ain’t easy!). In my sanding and staining world, the work has been made easier with the wealth of information that exists around wood work. What did we ever do before Google and YouTube??? In addition, I have received a wealth of tips (and space in his shop!) from my brother, Ross, of LGH Custom Works, from my neighbor and colleague, Stan Schmidt of Turn 2 Workshop, and from my nephew and general contractor, Isaac Steffensmeier of Clement Contracting. In addition, my ever-supportive husband (who was initially completely opposed to the extension of the house remodel beyond the kitchen) has rolled up his sleeves and engaged in the work with me… and it is has made the process much, much more bearable.
This is all to say that the business of lifelong learning and collaboration extend far beyond the walls of our classrooms: seek support from others in all of our endeavors! The Easy Button doesn’t exist, but perhaps the “Easier” button does.