Back to School

Two months post equinox, the days are noticeably shorter than the decadent northern latitude days of June.  The grass is brown where it’s not been watered.  There are fewer roses in the garden so it’s harder to assemble the shabby-chic Saturday bouquets.   But there are four magnolia blooms the size of soccer balls right off the back deck.
We waited until 5:30am to wander the beach this morning because it was dark and the tide was in.  A dozen boats were trolling in front of the house–crabbing season is slowing but the salmon run has started.  The signs of the seasons suggest that Labor Day is approaching–it’s almost time to go back to school.
We cling to our seasonal calendar in education.  At this point, preparations for the 2010-11 school year are just about complete—schedules, staffing, budgets, and adoptions.  Everything else will wait for the following year.
But learning is a lot messier than our 180 day calendar.  It happens where and when it will.  I thought about a great Stafford poem this morning, Learning, Any Time

Learning, they call it, this anticipated
lightning, this thinking around an event
and bringing it right.  It is hard to tell
if the connection is yours, or the world’s—
it all comes together and you say, “I know.”

In the coming years, I look forward to seeing more approaches to learning that are less agrarian,  less lock step, less compartmentalized; more personal, more portable, and more powerful.  I’d like to see more “anticipated lightning.”

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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