The Reflective Educator

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No one burns themselves twice

Well, okay, some people do burn themselves twice, but hardly anyone. The message is loud and clear, touch the stove and you get burnt, which hurts. There are lots of other things in life people learn the first time.

I was mouthing off in class one time about how much I hated the school newspaper, when Michelle turned to me and nearly with tears in her eyes said, "Do you really think that, David?" Of course, I was just making noise, and didn’t really mean it, but nothing I could do could fix that moment. I had jammed my foot far into my mouth, and I was not able to back-pedal smoothly. 20 years later, and I can still remember this exact moment. I didn’t need 15 slightly different examples with the answers in the back of the book to remember this moment, and the lesson that came with it.

How can we make more of the learning in school have the same kind of stickiness? Do I remember these lessons because they hurt, or because I had a strong emotion attached to that moment?

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