I had the privilege of joining a group of engaging and passionate PSD teachers one morning last week. We came together to talk about the meaning of innovation and specifically their individual experiences of innovative teaching within their respect practices.
I am currently reading for the third time one of my all-time favorite books, “You Can Have an Amazing Life in Just 60 Days” by Dr. John Demartini. In this little book, Dr. Demartini reveals 60 inspiring laws or universal truths that he has researched and practiced over a span of twenty years. According to Dr. Demartini these truths have enabled him to live a truly fulfilling life and he has dedicated himself to studying and sharing these truths as they apply to personal growth for anyone interested in learning about them. Every day he presents a different law, provides some example and a practical application to daily living. He then prompts the reader to reflect on this law and apply the law to their own lives. In this way as the reader integrates the laws into their own lives they are rewarded by a fulfilling and enriched daily living experience.
So you are probably asking yourself, “What is the connection between this little book and my experience with the PSD teachers?” The simple answer is that as I listened to the teachers in the room sharing their experiences and responding to the tasks at hand I couldn’t help but see the connection of what they were telling us, to some of the laws that I was reading about. Here are a couple of examples:
Law of Love
This is Dr. Demartini’s first law. He teaches that everyone longs to be cherished for who they are, and that if you share the truth of your own heart the people you touch will become the wonderous individuals they’re capable of being. That is, love individuals for who they are, no matter what. He says that if you do they’ll become more, accomplish more, and have more in their lives – and so will you. The power of unconditional love is unsurpassed in its power to transform. If you were as lucky as me to be in the room with these teachers you would have heard them telling their stories about their students from a place of unconditional love. To these teachers every student was important, every student was valued and every student had something to offer. They expressed a desire and responsibility to create an environment where every one of their students could thrive.
Law of Reflection
This is law number 42. The law of reflection has to with judgment – judging ourselves and judging others. Dr. Demartini teaches that what you say to others and what you see in others is a mirror or a refection that is meant for yourself. Those traits that we judge in others are often traits within ourselves that we need to learn about and address. A perfect example was a story that one teacher told about a student that she found particularly challenging. She was frustrated and often felt impatient. As she reflected on this situation she reported that one day she realized that this student was teaching her patience – she no longer saw this situation as a challenge but as a gift.
Law of Growth
A third law I thought relevant is the Law of Growth. This law teaches about the willingness to let go of old practices and relationships that allows both you and others to evolve. A couple of stories that depicted the application of this law came from the stories that a kindergarten teacher and a middle years teacher told in their group. Both teachers talked about how a change in thinking allowed them to have the courage to allow their students to take responsibility for their learning. In the first story the teacher reflected on how she used to direct students through a particular task and when she turned it over to them to figure and stood back to observe, rather than direct amazing things happened. Real learning took place. In the second story, the teacher shared that where she once believed that there was one way to solve a problem – her students taught her that when they were encouraged to make their learning visible and they worked cooperatively together, many different pathways lead to the solution.
So the relevance of this book to my observations of the teacher’s discussions is the connection to PSD’s exploration of changing practice. In PSD we are busy exploring the “how” to implement an inclusive education system by changing practice to respond to the changing demographics within our classroom environments. I’m thinking that if individuals consider the universal truths of unconditional love, reflection and growth they too can experience a journey towards an “amazing practice”.