Yesterday I opened a workshop with a group of pre-service teachers using "Fire" by Judy Brown.
This is not the first time I've read the poem or even the first time I've used it in a workshop, but it still got me thinking, and thinking hard about the teacher I am and the teacher I want to be.
I want to be the teacher who creates that sheltered space between the logs. That safe, breathing space; the open space that makes the fire - the learning- possible.
But surveillance sometimes sneaks in and I hold on too tightly. I find myself asking "are they doing all of the assignments, or trying to sneak something by me? Am I holding them accountable enough? Am I leaving too much space? So much that a gust of adolescence can come through and blow out the flame?"
Returning now to Brown's poem I am reminded that neither the log stacking or space making just happens. Both require careful attention. The space has to work with the fuel together to make fire. The teacher has to be there to guide and make space for learning to happen all at the same time, and nudge lightly from time to time.