Last year my family and I picked up and moved across the state from a city of 900,000 to a small town of about 8,000. Originally it was a house that drew us here. An 1837 Antebellum fixer-upper. Not our first old home, but the oldest we have owned. We worked on this house for a year, not knowing if we would ever really even move here. But, then an opportunity arose for me and we moved quickly into a house that was nowhere near completion. It has been the best decision of our lives. Even if our purchase of this house really happened on a whim (it took us 10 min to make an offer). And even if it is still a construction zone. It’s ok. We are all happier than we have ever been. Friends see us and tell us we look rested and relaxed.
We have learned a lot and changed our habits in big ways. It has taught us a lot about what we value as a family.
We take more walks. I sit on my front porch and read. My son curls up with a book in our living room, the light shining through our windows (still without window coverings!). On Saturday mornings we walk to the doughnut shop. On Sunday nights we visit the old cemetery behind our house and my son dreams up Eagle Scout projects to fix up the graves. We spend more time in the kitchen baking and cooking together.
Life is truly simpler in a small town.
I wonder how we as educators can bottle some of that simplicity in our classrooms. Is it through the relationships we build and the traditions we create? Do we slow down to take class walks? Do we all curl up in corners of the room and read? How do we communicate our values through the choices we make in our classrooms?
Simplicity is important in our classrooms. Innovation is important. But sometimes the simplest activities result in the greatest impact. How are we leveraging the power of both simplicity and innovation in our classrooms?