I've started a new pattern of not working on Saturday's. Although today, I cheated a little as I wanted to see if I could work offline on some google docs. I've moved and my new home doesn't have internet access. I'm tying to manage with just a bit of extra data on my phone so I've become a bit of a scrooge when it comes to data. I don't want to buy and extra data pack because I've got big plans for the second half of this year that involve travelling and not working, both of which are incredibly expensive.
Fortunately the offline experiment worked well so I was able to get back to my work free day until now. I see my involvement in #28daysofwriting still as a work thing since that's what I write about mostly. So today I'm taking a detour on that too and thought I'd jot a few lines down about my first breathless moments of learning.
I always wanted to be a teacher. I loved school and can remember many breathless moments as a child that I experienced at school learning something. My first memory of this was in Grade 1 when our beautiful teacher, Miss Box, took a few of us aside and told us we were ready for something new. I was proud that I was chosen. Miss Box told us that she was going to teach us how to write sentences with number just like we wrote sentences when we were telling a story. By Grade 1 I was already switched on by numbers and counting anyway and this next foray into the world of mathematics seemed unimaginable.
She showed us a plus symbol and an equal sign and we learnt how to convert the words, 'two plus two is four' into 2 + 2 = 4. I was speechless, I was amazed and I remember thinking I had learnt everything there was to learn. I had a mind expanding experience right there and I was like a id in a candy store. I was breathless. I will never forget that feeling and when Miss Box went on to teach us subtraction I knew that mathematics was where it was at for me. I experienced great joy in that short lesson with my teacher who had the nounce to choose me to show something special to. Needless to say I am now a maths teacher and mathematics has remained a passion but as I reflect back it was the moment of learning something entirely new that left me breathless.
The second most significant event that left me breathless happened in Grade 2. We had the beautiful Sr Kathleen that year who was strict and stern but smart and sensible. She was also kind and caring too. In the year I was in Grade 2 man landed on the moon. In our humble primary school and one of the far less affluent suburbs of Melbourne we were allowed to watch the moon landing on the TV. I was transfixed to the T.V. I couldn't quite believe what was happening as it was daytime in Melbourne but it was dark on the moon. I had been taking a very keen interest in the discussions in the lead up and I'm sure that Sr Kathleen informed us in a manner suitable for our tender ages what was happening but I was the type of child who could sit unnoticed and listen in on adult conversations. I was watching the moon every night in the lead up hoping to get a glimpse of the lunar module as it flew to the moon. At the moment Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon I held my breath hoping that the moon wouldn't blow up and what a relief when it didn't. I watched until they made me move back to class and I continued to watch the moon in the days following.
Both these experiences were so significant that I can still feel the emotion of these events as if they were happening now and I wonder if I am providing similar opportunities for my students as they learn new things. How lucky I was to have two teachers very early on who enabled such breathless moments for me. Certainly Miss Box knew that this was an important step but I doubt she knew how much that moment influenced my love of mathematics or my desire to be a teacher one day. I don't think as teachers that we know when these moments will happen. The best we can do is look for the opportunities then seize the moments when they occur.