I'm angry. I rarely get angry, but something set me off the other day that really upset me.
You see, my daughter is learning to tie her shoes. I saw this as an opportunity. A chance to learn a new way to tie shoes, perhaps find a different, more intuitive way to tie shoes. This is, after all, the 21st century. Surely we aren't still tying our shoes with the old "rabbit round the tree" method. Surely there was a better way. I looked online and found two videos of a smoother, I think more intuitive way, to tie shoes. Here's the first one. Here's the other one of them:
This is a big moment in a father's life. This is one of those life skills that allows a kid to be more independent, more free in their routine, and actually frees up more time for the kid and the parent. Like Google Instant, I figured I could save a couple thousand hours of time in my child's lifespan by learning this new way. So this was my big chance. Let's learn a new way. And let's learn it together. So, we studied our videos together. We got out our shoes to practice. We struggled a bit. And then....
We got distracted.
I can't remember exactly what happened, but before I knew it, I was in the kitchen and the kid was outside with our elderly neighbor. Oh no! Our neighbor was showing her....how to tie her shoes! Surely, our old neighbor was not going to teach her the new, streamlined method that we have just been studying! This is a total fail!
So, before she came back inside, I practiced our new method a whole bunch. I wanted to make sure she saw how simple and easy my method was. When she came in, she sat down, and showed me what she had learned. Here is the result:
She tied her shoes! She had learned how to tie her shoes!
But as you can see- she did it... the "old way."
She succeeded, but the opportunity to learn my new method fell on deaf ears. I tried to show her the new method, but she said she was "getting confused" between the two, and wanted to keep doing it her way. Game over. When I look back at this episode, I'm actually angry. I'm angry because I this is what I teach- intuitiveness. I use technology, yes, but the reason I gravitate towards technology, is the same reason I moved my clothes dryer to the right of my clothes washer. Some things just make more sense. And when you're drying clothes, one shouldn't have to climb over the dirty clothes to get the clean clothes. It just makes sense. Home decorators call this feng shui, but it means the same thing. My goal as a teacher, and many teachers that gravitate to technology, is to teach kids and teachers the methods that make sense. They do, in turn, help them save time.
This isn't about doing things the easy way. It's about doing things- the right way.
I do praise Google a lot for the tools that they put out. Because they're intuitive. They have digital "feng shui." Google tools, among many other Web 2.0 tools, know what I want to do- before I do it- and that's the key.
So, I think I have a reason to be angry. I don't blame my neighbor. It's not really their fault. Should I really be complaining- my kid knows how to tie her shoes! But the opportunity to teach a new skill, in a new way, to a young child, can sometimes be fleeting. I don't like when they pass me by.