My best ideas come to me while cooking. Quite interestingly, considering the unstable weather in classrooms that result from brainstorms and other phenomena, I do not doubt that universes can be born at school.
For the last two weeks, the Qingdao Amerasia International School (QAIS) family has been involved in intense professional development to support our mission of being language learners and teachers at all moments. Needless to say, at the end of the last session not only did we feel empowered, but also ready to navigate the waves and layers of learning using language as the vessel that will help us co-construct new ideas and achieve new understandings.
Today was our first day at school, and I finally got a taste of the flavors on multilingualism and multiculturalism in our very own QAIS. If QAIS were a planet, all languages and cultures represented in the school (that is around 30 nationalities and languages between students and staff) could modestly symbolize different colors, textures, latitudes, structures, systems, legacies, and aspirations that every nation and planet treasure as their most desired constellation.
First days are the genesis of great things, and these are easily perceptible to the curious eyes that look for novelty and dreams. It is almost as looking at your dear ones when you arrive in an airport after a long time: there are children running to their former teachers’ arms with full remembrance of a past year full of joy, and with their eyes filled expectations because of what lies ahead. New paths will be designed by teachers and students; the designs are very likely to change as the year evolves, but that is the beauty of learning: we flow with the rhythm of our personal expectations, and open our senses to the curiosities that are waiting for us in the real world- always inviting us to play, always ready to make us wonder.
When we see the environment that teachers have created in their classrooms, it is always interesting to look back and figure out how the pieces were put together: why are there tables and standing stations? Where have all those paper shapes gone or what are they a part of now? Why does each wall portray a certain kind of personality? Why did teachers decide to include certain symbols and images? How did teachers envision emotional layers in their classroom? And how have teachers made sure their classrooms are both learning laboratories and workshops filled with tools?
If the process of decorating and setting up classrooms is directly proportional to the learning that will take place in them, then it is clear to me that many worlds will be born in those classrooms; many recipes will be cooked; many ideas will be challenged; many understanding will find fertile soil to grow; and many ideals will find their communion. One single classroom to host many heads filled with ideas hence becomes the universe that awaits exploration, discovery and acknowledgment.
Happy Rhodes’s Many Worlds are Born Tonight album is playing in my iTunes now, and I cannot agree more with what she says:
If you stare into a flame
You’ll get an eye full of energy
If you write your night escapades
You’ll get a dawn full of promises.
So here is to a great year ahead; a year in which the burning flame or learning in each classroom will expect our observation; a year in which our getting involved will allow us to experience the sunrise and sunset of promises and accomplishments.