It’s been a great couple of days. Stepping away from our learning space, to a different learning space at SxSWEdu. Participating in a panel with people who inspire me (Thanks Manuel and Rebecca for the true honor of sitting with you all!) . And one line that I keep thinking about, “Nobody owns making in your school. Nobody can. And that’s what makes it great.” I keep going back to. I think six thousand things a day that I never share or act on. But this one ? I keep going back to it. In our schools, there are experts that “own math,” and “own social studies.” Owning their subjects like we own cars and houses. I despise the term “edu-rockstar” and when people talk Twitter follower counts, I’d rather climb under a table and hide. But, a conversation with another educator who share a passion for the magic in the classroom? I can never, ever get enough of that. Making just can’t be reduced to one person or thing. It’s built on the work of great people like Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, Seymour Papert… and many more.
The idea that we don’t have classrooms with a sage on the stage anymore is not new. But, it’s still taking so much, too much time, to catch on. Because we go to conferences where too many are still, well, the sage on the stage. Being the sage or being IN it. Daily. Up to your nose in cardboard and covered in alligator clip wires, and loving it. There’s too much of one person being the golden apple of the “thing” and the buzzwords. The buzzwords.
You know that scene in Dirty Dancing where Baby gets put into a corner. That’s how I feel about making. You cannot put making in a corner. You just can’t. You can’t reduce all that is beautiful about raw human creativity into a pile of buzzwords and things. The energy people have when their genuine excitement of kids creating and making the world better is almost indescribable, uncategorizable, and unsellable, non-packageable. It’s made from a variety of passions, things, and mixes. It’s not processed. It can’t be because the mix is exactly the thing that makes it what it is. It’s as authentic as authentic gets.
We are not apples. Apples only produce more apples. We are a fruit salad. Bananas. Pears. Oranges. Grapefruit. Hybrid mixes of yet to be invented Pineoranges. A beautiful, colorful mix of unmatchable joy. You are the Scratch guy? Great. You’re the edu-startup girl? Awesome. You’re the one who wrote the book on design thinking? I want to hear about it and mostly hear how your fiasco in your classroom turned out to be amazing because you hung in there. Because no matter WHAT you are passionate about, if it’s promoting learning and empowering a kid or another teacher to change the world, I’m there.
Just don’t feed me processed applesauce. And don’t you dare put making in the corner.