On how to foster curiosity in the classroom

This year I left my classroom job and became a learning pod instructor, and all of my teaching completely changed. What I have seen this year with my little homeschool pod is that kids are naturally curious. Humans are natural learners. We want to know things, but what we want to know is individual to each person.

It was really fun to have kids show me what they want to learn more about. Even when it was cold, we would go outside for long periods each day. We were collecting twigs and talking about, “How do we want to build this fire? Is it better to build it in a triangle?” They used pocket knives, and we learned how to cook over a fire. I was amazed by how much outdoor play touched so many different subjects.

Kids are so curious, and each kid is so different. Our interests and our unique gifts are all part of what makes great adults who are doing important things and helping others and building a stronger community.”

I learned this year that I’m really tired of making kids do what they don’t want to do. And what I’ve learned about myself is that I also need to play, and I also have a drive to learn. I’ve also learned not to take learning so seriously. Being free of having to teach to the standards and having to prepare kids for testing and assessments has opened up so much more playfulness, creativity, and fun with these kids.

I think that’s possible to do in public school, if teachers are given the flexibility to do it. A lot of teachers are very stressed about the timeline. We have to finish this unit by next Friday, and then we have to take the tests, and then we have to start the next unit. There’s no time for just opening up curiosity. So then I wonder, why are we on this timeline?

Maybe it looks like restructuring the school day, or looking through the standards and the curriculum and deciding what we can let go of? What do we want to focus more on? How do we make space for it?

Kids are so curious, and each kid is so different. Our interests and our unique gifts are all part of what makes great adults who are doing important things and helping others and building a stronger community.