This week was the end of the season for my son’s 3rd grade basketball team. It was a good season and, ending at 7-2, they expected to do well in the post-season tournament. Unfortunately, they did not. Losing two straight they were quickly eliminated by their opponents who probably have a little more experience than the 10 weeks that this group of boys have been playing together. Both games were close and a win could have been had by either team but, in the end, our team lost. As you might expect from a 3rd grade game, there were lots of inadvertent fouls as the teams are still working to learn how to play the game. When the game was over, my son asked, “Why was number 33 so mean?” prompting a long discussion about sports, playing a game and perspective.
In reflecting further on the idea that my son had a very limited perspective and only saw his side of it, I began to think more about my own perspective of the world and my role in it. Our perspective is shaped by our experiences, our beliefs and our own view of the world. But, as I tried to explain to my son, our perspective is our own and we can’t know, we can only try to see the world from someone else’s point of view. As educators, our perspective has great power because we bring it with us into the classroom and, because of our positions, our perspective has influence on the students who walk through the building doors. Their personal experiences are being shaped everyday as a direct result of the work done in class and the experiences they have. Educators are influencers and have great power and responsibility with their respective classes and we must recognize that our perspectives are our own, as our the perspectives of our students. Are these perspectives always right? Absolutely not. It’s simply a way of looking at the world.
All this being said, be aware of your perspective, that of your colleagues, and equally importantly, your students. Chances are they look at the world differently because of their own experiences. It’s not wrong, it’s just different.
Thinking about perspective reminds me of a photo that I saw on Twitter that was taken by an photographer named Steph Goralnick. I’m not posting it here because I don’t have permission, however, I love the perspective switch that she took in creating it. Check it out. It might take a second, but quickly you’ll see how quickly perspective can change. Also, kudos to The Cool Hunter website that pointed me to this photo.
Cross posted to Northeast Middle School Friday Flyer