Our society generally celebrates life without boundaries. We indulge in a litany of motivational expressions such as “limitless potential,” “tearing down barriers,” and “the sky’s the limit.” However, I have learned that in the classroom, this is simply not the truth. Now, don’t panic too quickly… I do believe our children have far-reaching potential, but it’s how they achieve that potential to which I refer.
Luckily, Sheri learns the power of clear boundaries by a wise mentor who teaches her with the analogy of popping kettle popcorn. The popcorn kernels too have potential, but if thrown directly to the burner or open flame, they’d pop to the ground or simply burn up where they stand. However, when strategically placed within the safety of a pot, they become what they’re destined to become.
It’s the boundaries of the pot that empowered the success. If we just throw our students into the fire of our curriculum, many will fail to achieve their full potential. Yet, when we establish clear and high expectations, our classroom environment is devoid of the distractions that detract from student achievement. Instead, our culture becomes ripe, fertile ground where we can focus on what matters most, popping popcorn.
So, do our students have limitless potential? Absolutely! Yet, as learned by Ms. Sheri Price and scores of other teachers across the nation, it’s within the safety of limits that limitless is achieved.
-- SIDE NOTE--
I walked into my classroom this morning to find this on my board. Wow, is there a rewarding of a profession as teaching?